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How API-led modernization can change the game for retailers

Akshay Kumar

As consumer demands continue to evolve, retailers need to please this increasingly demanding audience to gain – and retain – a loyal following. The accelerated shift to online means a strong customer experience is more important than ever. Whether this is enabling powerful omnichannel interactions, creating high-value personalized engagements, or accelerating innovation, APIs are at the heart of powerful, data-driven customer experiences.

APIs make it possible to connect data across multiple sources in real-time to generate the insights retailers need to create the experiences customers want. This is why retailers everywhere are working to enable unprecedented levels of data connectivity in their landscapes with APIs. In fact, according to MuleSoft’s annual Connectivity Benchmark Report, 80% of IT leaders are using APIs to increase productivity, innovation, revenue, and more.

The evolving retail environment calls for retailers to adopt a platform model, where APIs ensure that experiences can be delivered in a consistent way through any medium (in stores, on laptops, via mobile devices, or through smart-home assistants) any time a customer chooses, and on any channel.  With a platform model, APIs integrate all existing systems to make data accessible and usable in real-time, and as those customer expectations and business requirements change, it’s easy to update, modify, and deliver new services – quickly.

The future retail market will be defined by leaders who win based on their ability to leverage an API-led platform model to move with agility and speed. Here are a few examples of retailers that have successfully leveraged the platform model using API-led integration with MuleSoft.

Enhancing the quick-service experience: A quick-service restaurant was looking to differentiate itself in the market via an enhanced store experience across point of sale, kiosks, and mobile devices. We worked with the company to develop a solution that processed millions of records per day. As a result of the insights received, the company significantly improved the customer experience, increased visibility into performance and supply chain, and improved reporting and analytics.

Gaining better insight into buying preferences: A national restaurant chain wanted to leverage commercial APIs to interface with vendors and franchisees to effectively report analytics and real-time data from IoT sensors. This was integral to the organization’s initiative to enable a flexible, cloud-based API-driven integration platform. The primary business driver for this initiative was to provide enhanced visibility between franchisees and corporate systems, which required new levels of transparency as well as change.

Delivering innovation: A beverage company embarked on an initiative to connect dispensers to its legacy back-end applications along with device-management systems. This enabled the company to understand consumption data to define the right mix of options per location, as well as manage those devices from a central application. It also helped the company better understand customer preferences and consumption metrics. By taking a modern integration approach, the client was able to remotely manage inventory, enable critical software and configuration updates, ensure device health management, and most importantly provide consumers with the products they most regularly consumed.

To fully enable their business on APIs, many retailers need to modernize their landscapes, whether this means repackaging services to make them more consumable by the business or rearchitecting underlying application code. Capgemini has worked with retailers of all types to help them modernize and harness the power of API-led connectivity with MuleSoft. For more information, visit our web page or reach out.