What is an API (in Layman’s Terms)?

Learn what an API solution is and how it touches your shipping business
API solutions are the backbone of software connectivity

If you have an eCommerce business, you probably see the acronym API in more places than one. If you’re looking for a simple definition and you don’t speak “computer,” we’ve got you covered. API stands for Application Programming Interface. In layman’s terms, these interfaces are what allow software solutions to communicate with each other. It helps to think of them as the “engine under the hood,” and the backbone of the connectivity that our society has come to rely upon.

How do API’s Apply to Shipping?

All online shipping software solutions use API’s. When you integrate your online store with shipping software, you are doing so through the software’s API’s. Fulfillment centers also use API’s to integrate their software with your online store. These connections are precisely what allows fulfillment partners to process your orders, monitor your inventory, and send your customers notifications in real time. Without them, the entire backend of your business wouldn’t function! This is assuming that you are outsourcing fulfillment to an outside partner, of course.

The good news is, you don’t need to know how to develop API solutions in order to run a successful business…but it helps to know what it is, at least. If you’re looking for some recommendations for shipping software, fulfillment partners and more, check out our Reviews page!

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