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Why are the Retail and Banking sectors embracing APIs?

November 22, 2018

An application programming interface (API) is a software intermediary that helps applications communicate and exchange data with each other. APIs provide endless business opportunities by acting as doorways that provide access to those with an API key. They provide a rich user experience and enable applications to seamlessly connect and communicate with each other by creating a flow of data between apps and devices in real time.

An API acts as a universal plug and standardizes access – no matter what machine, mobile device, or operating system you’re using, you get the same access. They also act as filters that control access to assets and take precautionary measures that keep too much traffic from bringing down your servers.

Security is not an afterthought. It is an integral part of any development project. Two core aspects of API security are authentication and authorization. Authentication verifies that the external software that is making an API request really is who it claims to be. Authorization determines what information and API capabilities the external software is allowed to access, and makes sure that the software is not given access to any other information or API capabilities. A well-designed API management solution can simplify these security concerns, even for very complex API implementations.

Driving revenue using APIs, or API monetization, is a key advantage of APIs for the Banking and Retail sectors. You might want to charge API users per API call, but there are many other ways to monetize APIs. Simply offering a free service via APIs might attract business, or you might charge transaction fees, depending on the services you intend to offer. Several indirect forms of monetization should also be considered.

Here are some API capabilities that help address business challenges in the Retail and Finance industries:

Real-time analytics and API management for Retail

The line between digital and physical has started to blur. Nowhere is this more apparent than in retail. Well-known brick-and-mortar retailers have established an online presence to entice new customers, while online retailers have begun to expand their reach by opening physical stores in major metropolitan areas. New technologies and strategies centred upon well-managed APIs, cloud infrastructure, and agile development practices are the major behind-the-scenes contributors that enable much of the transformation we’re witnessing in retail.

There is a great amount of data available on what customers buy, where and when they buy, and how they pay, both at an individual and collective level. Since a lot of these transactions flow through APIs, this data can be evaluated in real time to personalize online messaging, align product development with customer preferences, or forecast demand for each product and physical location.

API management for retail enables retailers to implement APIs across the organization. It assists them in making the digital shift to engage customers across a diverse set of channels and streamlines internal business processes. API management solutions help retailers:

1) Externalize catalogues, shopping cart services, payment gateways, and other commerce services as APIs so that they can be rooted in diverse digital channels.

2) Initiate implementation of APIs both internally and externally by a different set of developers and partners who can develop engaging apps for customers.

3) Offer a great level of security to safeguard corporate data and customer information.

4) Offer intelligent insights into business channels and customer behaviours.

Data and Analytics for Banking

For the banking sector, the superior flexibility of API technology helps banks provide the rapid customization and personalized experience that customers expect from them. This depends on open infrastructures and data feeds. Banks collect and analyze data on their clients’ behaviour to identify marketing opportunities. APIs also provide access to aggregated third-party wealth management data like which age demographics are buying what type of high-risk or low-risk funds. Via APIs, banking organizations can make their data available to a larger audience to provide additional value.

Mobile banking apps offer customers instant access to personalized banking information, which gives banking customers a level of engagement they might not expect. These apps also improve banks’ mobile experience by providing features like letting customers snap a photo of a check and deposit it directly using the app, and GPS-enabled brand and ATM location services. Using APIs also helps banks identify errors or usability problems in their apps and uses direct customer usage information to guide design enhancement planning.

Commercial banking customers gain huge business value from using APIs if their bank’s business app offers opt-in push notifications to partners around the globe based on API-enabled location services. This feature allows businesses to receive alerts on nearby legal services, building inspectors, and government licensing offices that can help them expand their business.


The Retail and Banking sectors have seen a massive improvement since API implementation began, as it offers multi-channel experiences to their customers and helps expand businesses by providing them with the visibility and agility they require. For more information on how APIs can improve your enterprise-wide operations, please contact Systems