The API Economy in 2018: How Headless eCommerce Will Help It Grow

February 12, 2018

Category: Digital Transformation Strategy

At a global level, the trend of software infusion in business heralds a new global business reality – the API Economy.

Very simply, APIs are the common language or communication protocol that entities us to “speak” with each other in software.

Having APIs at the core of your business strategies provides two main benefits:

  1. It allows you to restructure and organize internal systems to support innovative new projects in a uniform manner – reducing maintenance costs and increasing agility.
  2. It provides opportunities to create new, innovative ways to reach customers, generate revenue and build partnerships.

True digital leaders distinguish themselves by creating and maintaining stable, clear interfaces to their businesses. Leaders who do this are joining The API Economy.

So what exactly is The API Economy?

“The opening of APIs typically enables organizations to innovate more rapidly and provide uniform data and transaction interfaces to internal and external developers, partners and customers, for improved data access and transactions. Such organizations can also develop software applications to access these APIs to create new functionality and value both for themselves and the wider world. The resulting economy enables many new classes of applications with the potential to transform the way business is done.” – Winning in the API Economy

As part of of the API economy, organizations become platforms, providing their core value to customers and partners in the form that these entities need. Some great examples of companies who have opened themselves up as platforms are found across many different industries:

  • NPR makes it easy for thousands of radio affiliates across the country to access and share content for their radio programs.
  • Contentful is a content management system that makes content accessible via APIs and editable in a CMS-like web app so that you can manage your content your way across other platforms and applications.
  • PayPal allows businesses to access their API to integrate their platform with PayPal’s in a way that makes sense to the business.
  • Twitter offers the ability for individuals and businesses to connect websites and applications with the worldwide conversation happening on Twitter with Twitter for Websites and their Ads API, for example.
  • Algolia offers a powerful hosted search engine API that provides product teams with the resources and tools they need to create fast, relevant search across other platforms and applications.

Over the past ten years, companies like these have caused the number of web APIs to skyrocket to over 14,000.

For business and developers alike, API-first, headless eCommerce platforms allow you to take advantage of this API economy and turn to best-of-breed applications to solve your business’ specific needs. Accessing APIs and microservices to complete a digital ecosystem not only allows companies to get to market at a lower cost, but also to focus on your core capabilities instead of building from scratch. External APIs allow enterprises to accelerate innovation down the line as well, with the ability to incorporate additional services and applications as the business expands.

In 2018 we’ll see more and more companies joining the API economy. Headless eCommerce platforms will support this as they make technology innovation and evolution faster, easier and cheaper than it’s ever been before.