eCommerce integration is an aspect of online business that drives operations, maintenance and growth. Software vendors need to realize that the relevance and effectiveness of their services will not be enough if they do not also provide reliable integration solutions. Secure and robust integration with multiple online shopping platforms creates a smooth flow of data and enables easy centralized management of business data.
APIs have revolutionized web development, and the eCommerce business is no exception. Expanding the customer base, effectively managing customer data, and improving functionality are few benefits that API-based eCommerce integration offers.
SOAP API and REST API are two major types of APIs that provide comprehensive support to eCommerce businesses. So, let's learn more about these APIs and understand the key characteristics of APIs of popular eCommerce platforms.
Application Programming Interface or API provides a connection between different programs, enabled by a set of functions that allow applications to interact with software components and access a variety of information. APIs also support interactions between operating systems and microservices.
Today, APIs have become an integral part of any eCommerce business. For example, they allow eCommerce software providers to get the data needed for managing orders and inventories and provide the other necessary functionality.
APIs provide better security. APIs use only specific endpoints for any type of communication. For instance, REST API allows only HTTPS endpoints for communication. This way, APIs ensure that all communication is encrypted and enable users to authenticate the service before accessing the data.
There are two main types of API: REST API and SOAP API.
Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP API makes use of Web Services Description language to describe functionalities. It is a protocol, and hence, an official standard is associated with SOAP API. It utilizes HTTP for data communication.
SOAP works only with XML. XML (or Extensible Markup Language) is a text format that specifies a set of rules to structure messages as both machine- and human-readable records. As we mentioned earlier, SOAP requires XML exchange between systems when sending requests and response messages within web applications. When the request is received, SOAP APIs return only XML-encoded messages.
Magento and Magento 2 both utilize SOAP APIs. Magento SOAP version was further updated to better support Java applications in Magento version 2. To access Magento SOAP API, you first need to create an appropriate role as a Magento admin. Next, create a web services user and assign a role to it. Login to the web service, and obtain a Session ID and then end by calling an appropriate method.
Representational State Transfer or REST API is an architectural style that uses multiple data formats like JSON, XML for faster internal communication. REST API primarily uses Web Application Description Language that allows a service provider to communicate with a service requester and inform them about the specifications needed to start the web service. Therefore, REST API needs lesser resources and bandwidth to operate.
REST uses HTTP methods for performing various actions on a specific resource. GET method allows retrieval of information. It is not associated with modifying the information in any manner. Since the resource (data) obtained is not altered in any way, GET is known as a safe method. POST allows the creation of new resources from a collection of data that is retrieved. POST responses are non-cacheable if a Cache-Control system is absent. PUT enables users to update an existing resource. If a resource is not available, it can also create a new resource, but it does not happen every time. DELETE can remove or delete any resource.
Let’s explore the APIs of some popular eCommerce platforms.
Shopify REST API allows access to data from all Shopify-based online stores. It makes use of the common HTTP methods like GET, PUT, POST, DELETE.
WooCommerce REST API enables controlling data access. Usage of this API makes it possible to work with data on orders, coupons, products, customers, etc. WooCommerce provides a lot of API versions. The current version of WooCommerce API is 4.4.0.
Ecwid REST API comes with oAuth2 authentication. It allows users to manage store data, add a new interface to the Ecwid Control Panel. Ecwid REST API supports storefront customization too. With the help of Ecwid API, it is possible to work with store categories, product variants, attributes, images, orders, customers, and coupons.
RESTful API can be used for various purposes. It can help develop integration with multiple shopping platforms and marketplaces like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Ecwid, Etsy, etc.
For example, the company API2Cart offers a unified REST API that allows eCommerce software providers and developers to connect their systems to 40+ shopping platforms via a single integration. In addition, API2Cart provides a comprehensive integration solution for retrieval, updating, synchronization, and management of order, customer and product data.
Using this AP2Cart unified API allows you to avoid developing a separate connection with each shopping platform. All that is required is integration with API2Cart. After that, it becomes possible to retrieve, add and delete data from e-shops easily.
APIs have become indispensable for web development today. APIs are time-savers that allow businesses to access important information and work towards improving their core competencies. For eCommerce businesses, managing operations across different platforms cannot even be imagined without APIs today.
To experience seamless, error-free, and secure integration with 40+ shopping platforms, you can try API2Cart today.