Elastic Path APIs' Integration Benefits
Deckers Brand API eCommerce Platform
Using an API eCommerce platform with Elastic Path, Deckers Brands created a mobile experience that allowed customers to use their phone in-store to scan products, add to cart, and check-out. Increasing the speed of in-store check-out exponentially and creating a better buying experience and improved employee to customer engagement.
eCommerce API FAQ
API stands for Application Programming Interface. Put simply, they allow different services (cart, catalog, pricing, etc.) to talk to one another by standardizing the 'language' and data needed to ensure functionality.
A service designed to be used as an API is meant to function on its own; therefore abstracting away the complexity of the inner workings of a particular service.
An API-first approach ensures that your developer teams can add, test, and deliver changes faster than traditional' tightly coupled' platforms. In traditional platforms, services were not designed to function independently, requiring significantly more workarounds and testing to make all parts work together in harmony.
In an eCommerce context, APIs provide access to services like shopping carts, catalog management, checkout flows, payments, etc. Each of these APIs share data between them to ensure the smooth operation of your entire eCommerce solution. For example, when a new product is added to your catalog, the catalog API will deliver the relevant information needed to the cart API for the new product without making any updates to the cart API. APIs will facilitate the data flow anywhere that data needs to be transferred to another microservice. Beyond communicating with other commerce APIs, eCommerce APIs facilitate external communication to your chosen frontend, third-party integrations, etc.
The short answer is: it depends. What works best for your needs will be determined by the functionality provided by a particular API and your brand’s goals. While there can be differences in what one catalog API delivers versus another vendor's catalog API, they will function similarly when it comes to sharing data and incorporating individual services.
While most APIs will communicate in similar ways, there are a couple of essential points to consider between eCommerce APIs. First off, the functionality offered by individual eCommerce APIs can differ significantly. For example, a Catalog API may restrict you to only being able to assign a single price to a particular SKU. You would then need to make another SKU to accommodate different price points. On the other hand, Catalog Composer is fully decoupled, allowing you to have multiple pricebooks associated with the same SKU and unlimited flexibility on product hierarchies that will enable you to efficiently cater to the differing needs of a particular customer group.
Another critical consideration is that not all eCommerce APIs are created equally. While solutions like Elastic Path are designed to be 100% exposed as API, other legacy platforms were designed to work as a monolithic application. Many of these platforms have exposed their services with bolt-on APIs. However, the underlying service is still heavily reliant on related services. It can be more challenging to implement as they often require more workarounds or specialized developer knowledge that can get expensive and time-consuming. To learn more, check out our related eCommerce API 101.
eCommerce API Resources
At Elastic Path we believe that an API is the ideal delivery mechanism for eCommerce. Check out our blog on the five critical areas to cover when evaluating a commerce solution and individual eCommerce API comparisons:
- Location & Response Times
- API First or API Bolt-On
- Interoperability & Extensibility
- Developer Experience & Documentation Quality
Gain access to all of the necessary information: API references, how-to guides, blog posts, and videos. Elastic Path's comprehensive eCommerce API documentation will accelerate the learning process and help get you launched faster.
Get Your Elastic Path Product Tour Today
Maintaining multiple product catalogs to support different business models and pricing options can be a hassle. With Catalog Composer from Elastic Path, you can easily manage and centralize catalog management in one location.
In this interactive tour, showing just a single Elastic Path Commerce Cloud feature, you’ll see how one customer easily set up both B2B & B2C catalogs.