Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) use digital communication to seamlessly and securely transfer data across multiple programs. They can also perform repeated, yet complex, processes that would otherwise require a skilled developer and are changing the way businesses communicate and collect data.
Integrating APIs on your website can propel your business to the next level by efficiently gathering useful data and increasing your website functionality.
More than 16,000 APIs are available right now, making it easier than ever for businesses to integrate an API on their website to begin gathering valuable data and improving their website’s user experience.
Rather than creating new programs that are specific to your business and site, APIs help improve your existing platform, increasing speed and making them easier to use. APIs get rid of unnecessary steps and provide access to new techniques without creating an entirely new program.
On websites with an API, customers can interact with another program or site through the click of a button, rather than visiting the other program or site. This “button” or interface exposes a code to activate the function of the linked program.
For example, on Travelocity, users can search for flights, hotels, and packages using a search function.
This search function is an API that consolidates information found across the internet in one location.
The shipping API will easily provide real-time information tracking of shipment statuses to emails, apps, or through SMS. Having this function on your website saves customers on time and allows them to smoothly interact with solely your site.
These types of APIs also relieve stress on the business owner by reducing the number of customer inquiries. Having access to constantly updated information reassures customers that everything is running smoothly.
Create a Better Customer Experience
One of the biggest challenges companies face is ensuring great customer service and outperforming competitors.
If a website does not present a personalized, immediate experience, 60% of customers will pursue other competitors.
Ensuring your customers have a positive experience is critical as competition among businesses increases and factors that distinguish them from others decreases. Optimizing your website for customer experience can be the deciding factor when customers choose which business website to use.
When APIs are integrated into your website, it allows you to collect and predict customers’ buying patterns. Rather than dealing with multiple sites to purchase customer data, you can get everything from a single source.
This collected data can allow you to suggest products and services that align with your customer’s needs and can help you refine your website to be tailored to your customers’ desired experience.
APIs streamline and automate internal processes. The instant transfer of data enables companies to act quickly without delay.
By automating tasks for your employees, other priorities can be handled quicker. 5 tasks can easily turn into 2 with the help of an API.
For example, an API can be integrated on multiple devices to provide a sales team with accurate quotes and numbers from mobile or web. A sales member can then quickly and efficiently provide users with the information they were waiting for.
The users are happy with the speedy service, while the companies are happy with increased efficiency.
Keep Your Site Secure
Security is one of the top concerns for users when choosing to interact with a website and should be for business, too.
In 2017, the average cost of each data breach was $3.62 million. With that amount of money at stake, nobody wants to risk losing vital information or money.
Customers expect there to be security assurances in place, such as encrypted domains or SSL security certificates.
For example, an authentication API can be used to prevent security breaches on your site. This can start with a solid authentication method and move to 2-step authentication to confirm the customer’s identity.
Securing data not only keeps your customers’ information safe but your company’s information as well. That is why a multi-pronged approach using APIs on your site is essential to keep you and your users secure.
With an API, you can separate different layers of your site.
APIs Present a Win-Win Solution for Both Businesses and Customers
Top web design agencies recommend integrating APIs within your site to boost the efficiency of your internal processes, streamline your services, and provide valuable information at an unprecedented pace.
Whether it’s to create a better customer experience or ensure your site is secure from cyber-attacks, APIs could be the solution you’ve been looking for.
About the Author
Melissa Parker is an engineer with a passion for spreading knowledge. After graduating from Cornell University, she moved to San Francisco to work on a startup agency. During the weekends, she offers support and advice to young start-ups and gives SEO and social media classes to high school students, for free.