How APIs Can Dramatically Improve Your Business
By Nick Rojas ; March 9th, 2020

For decades, business owners have strived to discover what makes customers tick, to understand customer's wants and needs, and how to best serve customers. As technology has advanced, the quest to understand and serve customers has become more complicated. Customers do not behave the same way they did even 10 years ago. Keeping up with customer changes is nearly an impossible task, but the same technology that altered customer behavior can help business owners understand and service their modern audience.


Technology has facilitated the switch from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping. Customers shop online more now than ever before and the eCommerce space is only growing as more customers leave physical stores behind. Business owners aim to provide the best experience possible for their customers, and new online tools have been developed to achieve that goal. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are one such tool that business owners can employ to improve their business and provide the best possible service to their customers.


What is an API


Before we can delve into how your business can use APIs, we must establish what an API is. An API, short for application programming interface, is a set of instructions, procedures, and routines that lets one application work and communicate with a different application. APIs let businesses easily bring new services or features to their website that would have been difficult or impossible to provide otherwise. APIs commonly work in the background, and most customers aren't aware they regularly interact with APIs. From shipping APIs to payment verification APIs, there is an API to solve any problem as there are over 16,000 APIs currently on the market.

Address Verification API

Address verification APIs will continue to spread throughout the market. They are expected to become industry standard, as even small companies adopt their use. Address verification APIs ensure when a customer enters their shipping address that the address is valid and properly formatted. Address verification improves delivery accuracy, efficiency, and speed. Delivery drivers can map routes with confidence knowing that their stops have been verified, and a customer is reassured their package will arrive knowing their address is correctly formatted and has been validated by the shipping company.


Security APIs


The Internet can be an extremely dangerous place for businesses and customers, as over $445 billion is lost annually due to cybercrime. Unsecured websites can leave visitors vulnerable to malicious software, and most customers are aware of the potential risks. Today's customers are Internet savvy enough to be wary of sites that do not provide adequate security. Using an HTTPS domain is a good first step, but more advanced measures are necessary to keep you and your customers safe online. To keep your website secure and attractive to customers, invest in security measures including security or authentication APIs.


Many authentication APIs, like OAuth 2.0, use a token system that ensures the protected data remains hidden, but still verifies the data and allows appropriate access. OAuth 2.0 doesn't authenticate anything itself and instead rely on authentication servers with OAuth 2.0 acting as the protocol for verifying data. Like most security APIs, OAuth 2.0 does not detail the exact process used to authenticate data, but it does provide an implicit flow. This way, website owners can understand the API works before adding it to their website. 

Major Company APIs

Many of the largest companies in the world offer their own API. The YouTube API lets you easily embed videos into your website, customize playback settings, and pull data from YouTube to your website's control panel. Vimeo is an alternative video playback option that offers similar features to the YouTube API. Google has a host of APIs and there is assuredly one to suit your needs. From Google Analytics to Google Calendar and Google Translate, there is a Google API for just about everything.  Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, Dropbox, and MailChimp all have their own APIs as well, meaning there is API out there for every situation.


APIs are a powerful tool that every website owner should make use of. APIs can bring security, verification, and a wide range of other services to any website. Correctly employing APIs can improve your business, so do not pass on the opportunities APIs provide.

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