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One of the most grievous sins you could commit against your customers in the online shopping space is to be out of stock on an item they want. An average shopper like me might choose to come back. But more dedicated shoppers won’t give you a second chance. Don’t just take it from me though. According to research, 31% of consumers will go to another store when they can’t find the item they want at your store. That translates to a whole lot of revenue lost because the supplier did not come around on time or you didn’t order enough units of the product. This is why you need to invest in a Product API that can manage availability.
Managing your shelf goes beyond just stocking and restocking goods. You need to predict customer behavior according to season, optimize your supply and delivery chain, minimize carrying costs, stay updated with your suppliers, manage stock shrinkage and so much more. How do you handle all this without disappointing your customers? Automation.
Using an API allows you to automate most of these processes by collecting related data in real-time and feeding it directly into your inventory analytics software or website. These real-time datasets help you to understand how your business stands in regards to having an optimal shelf at every point in time. With an API that collects this data, you can always know just how much stock you have left. In this article, we’ll look at how product API systems work, collecting data using APIs, and the benefits of automated product data.
What Is A Product API?
Before we move forward with this article, let’s discuss what we mean by product data. The entire eCommerce space is a data-driven infrastructure. Every time you interact with our suppliers or your customers interact with your store, data is generated. These data sets cover a variety of topics about your business but the most important detail they offer is how many products you have left and when you should restock.
Every time a customer buys a good, that is one less unit of that good you have. Every time you order new goods from your supplier, the time they take to deliver it is a dataset that could tell you when you should be making your orders. A returned product could be a sign of bad packaging from the warehouse or mishandling by the delivery service. Every single event gives you information about the efficiency of your business from the supplier to the end-consumer. With that said, here are some of the examples of data sets that qualify as product data:
- Warehouse statistics: The stats from your warehouse tell you how many units of each product you have left and details like expiry date for perishable goods, already bought but undelivered goods, cost per unit of storing different types of goods and much more.
- Supply-chain data: Data from your supply chain tells you about how smoothly and quickly your new product orders get to you from your suppliers. This, alongside other data sets, helps you develop a strategy for ordering new products at the right time.
- Consumer trends: Data on consumer trends also counts as product data as this data is crucial to your understanding of the types of goods you should order in particular periods. This is especially very important if you are selling in a niche like fashion, where trends can shift very quickly.
- Data from competitors: Wondering what the competition has to do with your product? Well, if they aren’t selling it, perhaps you should be selling it. Or maybe not. Either way, knowing the types and maybe quantities of goods that your competition is stocking might give you some idea on how to go about refilling your own stock. Especially if you are a small business competing with a larger business that has more resources.
Generally, the scope of the eCommerce landscape has changed so much that data generated in-house by you and your employees is not enough to successfully implement a viable product management system. You need something more. Let’s look at how you can easily collect these data sets we mentioned above.
How to Collect Product API Data
Traditionally, the data collection part of product data management system involved long, cumbersome spreadsheets and lots of sleepless nights counting the number of baby sneakers you have left. However, things have changed. You cannot collect data on your competitors using a spreadsheet and writing materials. You need a more efficient system of collecting, delivering, and manipulating data. Coupled with web scraping functionalities, you can easily collect and manage all the data you need to build a successful business strategy.
Web scraping uses automated bots to parse through the source code of a given website and extract data according to preset parameters. An API is an interface that allows different pieces of software not designed to work together, to communicate. Together, these two automation systems allow you to set up a data collection funnel that extracts data from absolutely anywhere on the internet and feeds it directly into your website and software setup. This way, you can feed your management strategy with real-time data and arrest any problems before they blow up. Using back-end data programming allows you to automate other aspects of management like ordering new supplies. With an API, you can pull stock counts directly from your supplier to see what they have in stock. You can also add, delete, edit and transfer product data in real-time. Your customers can use your API to access your whole stock, allowing them to know what you have in stock and making it easier for them to make viable orders.
Using an API product management system also allows you to automate and track order delivery to your customers, generate order forms, invoices and shipping forms, and track goods across multiple warehouses. With the proliferation of multi-channel marketing and sales strategies, it is almost impossible to manually keep track of all the different aspects of a full-blown eCommerce business employing modern strategies. So you need to invest in an automated system that uses accurate data to fuel your business growth.
Benefits of Automated Product Data
An automated product management system is much like an automated car wash. Just drive your car in and the machine does the washing while you sit in your car and catch up on social media. Here are some of the benefits of using an API product management system:
- Saves Time: Apart from the physical stress that comes with manually updating a spreadsheet, the time involved can also be diverted into something else. The API data system updates the spreadsheet automatically. The product count gets updated automatically when an item is either sold or returned. Aside from the time-saving benefit, the product report no longer relies on manual entries which are prone to faults.
- Provides Accurate Data:
Once automated systems are deployed, manual entry is no longer fancied, hence, the rate of human errors is reduced. With this improvement, reported data stays accurate since the system tracks and reports every single item as they move in and out of the warehouse. This also helps to reduce shrinkage. Shrinkage is caused mostly by employee theft or the expiration of perishable goods. Using an API helps solve both issues.
- Offers Results in Real-Time:
The automated nature of the production system helps to provide results in real time. You will always need to know what your production contains at any given time. Since the reports are made as events happen, you will clearly be able to monitor the flow of items to and from your inventory.
- Reduces Chances of Stockouts:
Since the shelf and its numbers reports in real-time and is being monitored, there is a very low chance of running out of stock or being understocked. Once you possess all the needed market info, coupled with data from your own system, you can predict what your safety stock levels are and make sure you never fall below them.
- Influences Business Growth:
Sales will increase since your business is able to cater for customer demands. This is only possible with records that are fully automated and organized. The real-time reports allow growth and also aids the smooth running of sales.
The Best Data Driven Product API
Investing in API data for your products, like any other investment, requires a lot of research. However, we have done the research for you and can confidently tell you that one of the best APIs for product data that you will ever come across is Scraping Robot’s public scraping API. At Scraping Robot, we have developed an extremely efficient scraping service that couples with our public API to present you with a fully developed data collection funnel.
With our API, you can extract all types of data from customers, suppliers, competitors and your business and funnel it to the right places for use. Our API allows you to set up communication between all your automation systems, so you can share data with ease. You can connect the warehouse scanner to the billing machine at the front desk, connect your suppliers to your systems and so much more. Using our already-built scraping modules, like Amazon scraper, BestBuy scraper and so on, you can also access product data from these top guns in the retail space and use it to inform your own business management strategy.
If you need something more, our developers are always on standby to take your requests and fulfill them.
The eCommerce space is fast-paced and competition will always be present. This means that your business needs to be on its toes to survive. Product management goes a long way to play a big role in customer retention, satisfaction and business growth. Employing an API is how you develop a shelf that never runs out of goods, even when you run out of goods. Customers are big determinants in the survival of businesses. It is important that every necessary thing is done to keep them satisfied.
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