[Video] What the Heck is an API and Why Would you Need One?

I have a confession to make. When I entered the software world, I didn’t really understand what an API was. I knew it wasn’t to be confused with a type of craft beer, but I was struggling with understanding APIs beyond that!

I came to realize that an API, or an Application Program Interface, could help increase business efficiencies and somehow connect different software systems together but that was the extent of my knowledge.

Today we’re going to break APIs down a bit and explain just some of the things that they can do for you.

So, What is an API?

In simple terms, an API allows one piece of software to talk to other software easily. It is the messenger that takes requests, tells another system what you want it to do, and then brings back a response.

Let’s think of an API as a bartender. Imagine you sit down to order a drink. Your bartender is the connection between you and that output. They are what you interact with to get information, such as what beers are available on tap, and also the function that brings you back a response – serving you a beer.

So how does that relate back to your business?

Well, there are many things APIs can do for you. Let’s talk through 5 quick examples of how you could be using APIs to benefit your business.

  • Connect your POS to your website. This will ensure consistency online and offline and allow you to automatically show information such as pricing or availability as well as store hours or location information. When prompted, they can even enable functions such as reserve online, buy in-store or buy online, ship to home directly from your accessory vendors.

  • Connect your POS to your finance, payroll, and accounting systems. Financials or commission data can be tracked and shared real time. This automation saves you time and helps avoid manual data entry mistakes.

  • Connect your POS to automate your inventory. Not only will your inventory information be accurate across all systems, but you are also able to automate your inventory management and purchase order creation.

  • Connect your POS to your CRM. Centralize your customer data while keeping it accurate and accessible to ensure your customers experience consistency across channels.

  • Connect your POS to user or identity management systems. This way you can enable SSO integration which would allow your sales associates to log into your POS system with their same credentials as they use on your other systems. You could also enable or disable users all in one place or easily manage their assigned locations.

So, what I learned is that APIs are awesome! And our team is constantly developing new APIs to solve our clients business problems. If you have questions about these solutions or other APIs, you can always just let us know.