API, which stands for Application Programming Interfaces, plays a greater role in the modern economy and business than ever before. In the age of data, APIs allow us to share important information everywhere. They power our lives from behind the scenes while staying unnoticeable. We have compiled the list of the most common examples which explain how APIs make our everyday lives easier and how they help business owners nowadays.
1. Logging-in using APIs for authentication.
A very common example of API usage is the “log-in using Facebook/Twitter/Google/Github” functionality you can see on so many websites. How does this incredibly convenient option work? Every time the application loads, it uses the API to check whether the user is logged in using whatever social media platform. If not, when the user clicks the “Log-in Using XYZ” button, a pop-up opens where they are asked to confirm they would like to log in with that social media profile. When the user confirms, the API provides the application with identification information.
2. Travel Booking.
When you choose the cheapest and the most convenient travel option using travel booking aggregators, you rely on APIs. These websites use third-party APIs to collect flight and hotel availabilities from providers. APIs are great for travel services since they allow to quickly and autonomously exchange both data and requests — in this case, trip availabilities and reservation requests. Without using APIs, an employee of the booking service would have to email the airline or hotel manually to find out their availability.
3. Direct PayPal payments at eCommerce stores.
Like logging in using a social media service, this functionality uses APIs to ensure that the end application can complete a transaction without gaining unauthorized access to sensitive data. When the user clicks the “Pay with PayPal” button, the application sends a request to the PayPal API, specifying details. Then, a pop-up authenticates the user and confirms the purchase. Finally, if everything goes right, the API sends confirmation of payment back to the application.
What about the benefits of using APIs for business owners? Today effective use of data can contribute a lot to any business, bringing positive changes to customer satisfaction statistics, streamlining operations, and increasing productivity.
4. Bringing customer relationship management to a different level.
Understanding and addressing customers’ needs is the key goal of every successful business. As a customer-oriented approach rules the world, CRM is a must and API helps a lot with this. If you suggest a product that the customer bought previously, it will improve sales by integrating CRM with past sales data using API. Additionally, you can provide updates to your customer using APIs, for instance, to send delivery status updates.
5. Analytical reports automation.
To make your analytical reports more accurate, timely, and helpful, you can integrate data with artificial intelligence-powered software, which is possible through API. This way, quick and accurate reports will be prepared in no time. It will also save you costs on hiring data analysts.
6. Streamlining day-to-day operations.
APIs help to automate day-to-day operations, optimizing resources, and help focus on achieving strategic goals. Tasks that don’t require a creative approach should be the first to be automated using API. This allows to minimize the errors and save costs because a fewer number of workers will be required.
APIs’ usage extends far above the listed options. For instance, financial institutions use APIs to track and manage accounts and credit cards. Retailers use APIs to communicate with their courier network to ensure packages delivery. Web applications utilize APIs to front-end with back-end functionality and data. Streaming services distribute content using APIs, and innovative automotive companies send software updates via APIs.