What is an API?

Posted by Jonathan on 4th Sep 2020

What is an API?


What is an API?


Will I be happy when I learn the meaning of API?

In our quest to really simplify eCommerce jargon for our readers, here is an explanation of what API means and what it means for your eCommerce site in BigCommerce.

API stands for Application Programming Interface, but for many less technical users this still doesn't help to understand what it means.

In plain terms, it simply means that there is a way of passing information from your eCommerce site to other places.

You may have a warehouse system that contains your stock levels which you want to keep matched up with the stock levels on your website. For this, an API request can be made from your stock system to your website can ask for the figures for any products that have changed and vice versa.

These days you can even maintain a Google Sheet with some of your product information that automatically updates to your website. Again, this just uses API calls which translated would look something like this:

Let's say you have a spreadsheet with your product prices in it. And for whatever reason, you want this spreadsheet to be the main source of your product prices.

You can set it up so that if you update a price in the spreadsheet, it automatically, or on the press of a button in the sheet, updates your price on the website.

It really is a simple as that, and BigCommerce is very strong in the area of APIs. You can access more or less any piece of data in your website via an API request. It takes a bit of technical know-how to set them up, but once set up they can be used by anyone even if they have no knowledge of how they actually work.

If you are interested in using APIs with your eCommerce site and your other systems, why not get in touch for a discussion. We may be able to help you save hours of work per day with an automated process that uses the power of APIs.

Have a look at our Launch Service for BigCommerce

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