Since the beginning of retail, store location has been a key ingredient for success. Forward-thinking retailers are now considering ‘location’ online as consumers move beyond the browser, increasingly spending time on their mobile phones, iPads, game consoles and other devices.
Last week Dana Mattioli of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article on “Retailers Ring Up New Sales on Smartphones” on highlighting the significance of a mobile strategy to the new world of retail. Hal Lawton, president of homedepot.com, expects 30-40% of their traffic to come from mobile devices by 2014. Retailers like HomeDepot are going to where their customers are by executing multi-device strategies.
But how can a retailer get onto all these devices, and to all the other places online where their customers are spending time? As depicted below, APIs are the center of a multi-device, multi-channel strategy:
And additionally, APIs are how online retailing is moving from a direct to an indirect model via new applications from partners and 3rd party developers. Here is a diagram illustrating the new retail chain:
But it's not all easy- each of these channels poses unique technical challenges. But it's worth it: for less than the cost of a single new brick-and-mortar location, you can use APIs to be everywhere your customers are.