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code talks Commerce: The API Economy as an E-Commerce Operating System


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My talk for the CodeTalks Commerce Edition, April 19 and 20 2016 in Berlin.
I explore the possibilities of APIs and API only products, explaining what APIs are, how one can participate in the API Economy, and what do look out for when selecting API products to power an e-commerce organisation

Published in: Technology
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code talks Commerce: The API Economy as an E-Commerce Operating System

  1. 1. The API Economy as an E-Commerce Operating System Sebastian Weikart - Code.Talks - Commerce Special
  2. 2. Agenda • A Brief Introduction… • What are APIs and what is the API Economy? • Why are APIs so great? • What is important to consider when selecting an API Vendor? • What is the E-Commerce API Ecosystem & How can I use it as an E- Commerce Operating System? • So how does it fit all together?!
  3. 3. A Brief Introduction • E-Commerce Architect since > 10 Years • 7 Years in London working with leading Retailers and Brands - House of Fraser, ASDA Direct, Clarins Group, TM Lewin, Labelux Group and more • Now living in Berlin, working as Product Owner, Architect and Tech Lead • / @sebbbulon
  4. 4. … and what is the API Economy? What are APIs?
  5. 5. What are APIs? A short history… • Since the beginning of time: Libraries delivered as Binaries for propriety platforms, delivered on discs or CDs • Late 1960s: Remote Procedure Calls • 1991: CORBA • 1998: SOAP • 2000: REST • 2001: JSON • since mid/late 2000: The Rise of Software-as-a-Service / Cloud-based Products and Platforms that deliver Functionality through an API and are billed by Usage and other Metrics
  6. 6. A Definition… • An API Product is delivered through Cloud-based Software-as-a-Service • All or the great majority of the Products features & functions can be used through this API • They use common Internet Protocols such as HTTP(S) • Largely standardised interface by implementing REST or similar Protocols, commonly using JSON as a Format • All or the great majority of Functions are documented and accessible publicly (no Pay-Wall or Exclusive Club) • Self-Service Sign-Up, Free Tiers, Usage based Billing • Sometimes API Products also known as “Headless” because there is no front-end or templating layer
  7. 7. What is the API Economy? • APIs provide Software and Functions like Utilities (Gas, Energy) • 3 Ways to take part and benefit from the API Economy: • You provide an API Product • You consume an API Product for your own Product, and leverage the additional generated Value for your Profit • You provide features and functions that are not covered by certain APIs and offer it to it’s wider Ecosystem
  8. 8. Why are APIs so awesome?
  9. 9. Why are APIs Great? • You are standing on the Shoulder of Giants: Give you powerful functionality without you having to implement them or needing to provide computing power • They are Universal: No proprietary Language or Technology, use the one where you have the greatest Expertise, connect all applications in your Organisation • Easy to understand with minimum Documentation due to REST Protocol and human-readable formats like JSON • Billed by Usage like Utilities • Deliver new Functionality continuously without paying extra or needing to upgrade
  10. 10. It’s a great fit for Omnichannel E-Commerce • How does a classic Omnichannel E-Commerce Architecture look like? Order Management System Storefront Warehouse Management
  11. 11. Tear down the Silos - Connect all your Devices and Systems, Enabling REAL Omni-Channel in Real Time
  12. 12. Use your CMS as the Leading System to deliver the Content. Or go Serverless in the first place… • JavaScript integration can turn a static HTML Website into a transactional one by adding an Add-To-Cart Button ShopRocket: SnipCart: Moltin: Commercetools:
  13. 13. How to Select API Vendors
  14. 14. What’s important when selecting API Vendors? • SDK Support - make sure the vendor you are about to choose is committed to your particular development platform and to Android and iOS by updating the respective SDK regularly • Regular release cycles, non-breaking upgrade process • Fast response times (< 100ms) and great uptime (> 99.9%) • Data Center / Point of Delivery available within German Jurisdiction if this is important for you
  15. 15. What else do I need to look out for? • Carefully check features - does it have a Search or do I need to look for a Search on top of the provided features? • Can I configure Web Hooks? • Can I import / export Data in differerent formats like CSV or do I need to develop this on top of the service? (can be tricky…) • Does it have a comprehensive user interface that covers all the offered functionality? • Is their documentation open and available?
  16. 16. What’s sometimes not so Great? • They don’t work offline - naturally • Extensibility / Flexibility of delivered Functions can be limited • Many API Vendors lack tools: “Guys, it’s an API, build from developers for developers, you can do everything yourself” - On-Boarding suffers • Your clients might say: “Hey, back in the day when we had the PL/SQL Application running directly in my Oracle Database, I could import / export this huge amount of data much faster” • Often engineers have to adopt new Programming Paradigms they might not yet accustomed to like Asynchronous, Parallel, Message Driven, Reactive, Stateless etc… to leverage the full power of APIs • Data flow needs to be designed carefully, as they are distributed among many systems
  17. 17. An Overview of the E- Commerce API Ecosystem
  18. 18. Content PIM Carts Inventory & Order Management Warehouse Mgmt Payment Analytics / Data CRM / Marketing Braintree Stripe QuBit Salesfore Klarna Paymill Google Analytics Nutshell many many more… many many more… many many more… Salsify Contentful Prismic The E-Commerce API Economy (Excerpt) Commercetools Moltin Snipcart Osmek YaaS ? Shoprocket
  19. 19. E-Commerce API Platforms • (Hybris as a Service) • Oracle CommerceCloud • Commercetools • Moltin • Shoprocket • SnipCart • Mozu
  20. 20. PIM & OMS Solutions • Salsify •
  21. 21. Delivery on Demand APIs • UberRUSH were the first on the market to actually offer a working on-demand delivery API
  22. 22. Integration Platforms • sometimes known as iPaaS • MuleSoft Anypoint Platform • WSO2 • • • Zapier
  23. 23. How does it fit all together?
  24. 24. Thank You! / @sebbbulon Stock Photos (CC0 1.0) by NASA via Unsplash, Roy Fielding Image taken from Roy Fielding’s Twitter, Douglas Crockford Image taken from Douglas Crockford’s Google+ Page