The growth of eCommerce was not a temporary pandemic solution for retailers. It accelerated an already present shift for retailers and shoppers alike, with 73% of households now shopping online. This rapid escalation in digital services for retailers has stretched the operational landscape of eCommerce retailers, particularly for logistics and supply chains.
eCommerce businesses want to focus on their core domain, whether it be electronics, homewares, furniture, vehicles or clothing and now seek to outsource logistics to ensure they focus on their consumers. However, these supply chain and logistics services offer a varied level of service that does not always cater to the modern digital customer’s needs.
The result? A complex puzzle of systems, services and suppliers that all need to be managed in a cohesive streamlined manner to succeed in the digital retail era.
However, e-commerce represents a tipping point for retailers no longer relying on their technology simply to host a website but now need systems to cater to and connect the complex digital interactions of their customers with back-office, inventory and in-store processes to meet demand and customer experience expectations.
Supply chains and customer demands have evolved. Customers now want to know where their product is in its journey along the supply chain, and retailers need to track the analytics of customer behaviours to stay ahead of the competition.
IT must now use various technologies and integrate its data to improve internal processes and bridge the gap between the physical and digital from 2PL through to 6PL.
The solution to unravelling the eCommerce puzzle is API-led connectivity
API-led connectivity is an integrated approach that allows companies engaged in eCommerce to unlock data, services, and other assets and bring them to the surface of a platform for broader consumption by the business.
It builds solutions by consuming APIs developed and exposed by supply chain providers and moves up the value chain by building 4 PL services while consuming APIs from 3 PL providers.
System APIs, Process APIs and Experience APIs are used in this approach:
System APIs expose data across core systems of record. By leveraging standard ready-to-use Mulesoft Connectors, you can easily connect on-prem and cloud-based backend systems securely. This enables shared data consumption across your business without duplicated workloads.
Process APIs consume and orchestrate data exposed by System APIs. API-led integration enables you to translate and enrich data while aggregating it for unified and streamlined operations.
Experience APIs are a way to transform data and services so that their intended audience consumes them. API-led connectivity enables multi-channel consumers, including retail, eCommerce, PoS, files and even partner APIs. This empowers customers while keeping developers in mind, allowing them to easily extract underlying data and services, even from complex downstream systems.