The way people shop is changing. The move to online shopping via merchants and online retailers means that integration is critical to how they showcase products and sell through multiple channels like POS, mobile, online stores and social sites. With the increase in digitisation, APIs are replacing point-to-point, and are increasingly used to integrate backend services to maintain existing customers and win new ones.
Integration is the key to digitisation
At the same time the importance of Big Data, which is used to analyse and improve the performance and personalisation of offers to customers grows in tandem with integration needs. The integration platform plays a critical role in gathering and sending data from the web, mobile apps and point-of-sale (POS) terminals, to systems to be learned and mined by retailers in order to personalise experiences, maximise sales and monitor and automate the supply chain.
For example, a well-known coffee giant wanted to connect their coffee shops and POS (vending machines) across the globe with backend systems to personalise the customer’s ‘coffee’ experience with a new loyalty programme, and at the same improve operational effectiveness. In the the resulting architecture, the integration platform orchestrated the bi-directional gathering and enriching of data gathered from front and intermediate channels with back-end systems. With data available in both loyalty and inventory maintenance systems, and instantly redeemable loyalty points available to the customer, the company improved the customer experience and were better able to manage supply and demand by cross-checking inventory against the master data available in the data store.
How APIs help retailers
As the world moves towards digitalisation, APIs play a critical role in allowing retailers to grow and expand by adding visibility to retail services for consumers anywhere in the world.
API management and analytics help retailers understand performance across geographies and product lines, whilst providing insight into customer behavior and expectation.
The MuleSoft Anypoint Platform is a powerful integration solution for SaaS, SOA and APIs, leveraging retail information across applications, services, monitoring systems, and Big Data.
Challenges in implementing APIs for retailers
Most retailers have legacy systems for performing day-to-day activities, which have been developed using heterogeneous technologies. As these systems age, they become incapable of meeting new business demands around systems’ interoperability, flexibility, scalability, architecture and design.
The challenge for retailers is to overcome those limitations, whilst accessing the right tools to design, develop and implement a robust API integration platform. The new integration platforms allow all API stakeholders to save time and effort by allowing them to add their input for reusable skeletons and stubs in the early design stage.
API design, development and management using MuleSoft’s Anypoint PlatformTM
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform provides a one-stop integration solution for SaaS, SOA and APIs on-premise and in the Cloud. The Anypoint Platform is rich in out-of-the-box connectors for the easy integration of different applications, systems and services, and a powerful run-time transformation engine that can be used to convert data on an as-needed basis.
The Anypoint Platform provides development tools to design and implement APIs which can be shared with existing and potential customers to validate. API management and analytics allow the business to control users and environments, apply policies like SLA limits and authenticate and customise security policies to suit the enterprise.
MuleSoft Anypoint Platform features as standard:
- API design tools based on RAML for RESTful services
- API concept design and share for community stakeholders
- API Management, governance and monitoring capabilities
- API portals and notebook publishing documentation
MuleSoft provides an API platform which unlocks systems data for sharing and leveraging across the developer community.
If you would like to find out more about how APIs could help you make the most out of your current infrastructure while enabling you to open your digital horizons, do give us a call at +44 (0)203 475 7980 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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