As Point of Sale (POS) systems move to the Cloud and ecommerce transactions continue to grow at double digit rates, utilizing external APIs to optimize and essentially outsource functionality that isn't a core part of your business makes a lot of sense.
Leveraging Cloud-based business functionality not only provides short-term and long-term cost-savings, but also helps getting systems and new capabilities into production sooner rather than later. Using external resources also frees up internal resources to focus on those requirements and activities that are core to the business.
For example, when a product is sold over the Web, the automated ecommerce transaction can kick off a series of calls to external APIs that swiftly and accurately:
- obtain the required tax rate of the buyer based on geographic location
- verify the shipping address against constantly-updated postal data to ensure proper order fulfillment
- validate a customer provided a correct phone number and valid email address for communication purposes
- obtain other demographics for customer profiling purposes
In addition, prices can be shown in local currencies using live currency rates for greater accuracy, and shipment notifications can be sent via an SMS text message for enhanced customer service.
In each case, the functionality can be achieved either with an in-house system and all of the software, hardware, and ongoing data management ($$$$) that goes along with it, or an external API can be called, typically with a single line of code, as part of the automated business process triggered by the transaction. Hopefully, it is fairly obvious which would be easier, less costly, and more quickly achieved in most cases.
All of these capabilities, accessible in the form of SOAP and REST APIs, are available from StrikeIron for easy integration to many different ecommerce systems and development environments. This is why ecommerce and POS systems represent many of our top use-cases, as the real-time and "Cloud ready" nature of our offerings represent a better ecommerce experience for many of our customers and their customers.