What is an API & how can it benefit your business?

Topic: Messaging API

An API (application programming interface) delivers automated SMS, WhatsApp or RCS messages that can improve your customer engagement, service delivery and drive operational cost savings. Want to learn more about how an API can benefit your business? Read on! 

How does an API work?

Companies plug into a technology called an API, which enables you to send and receive messages using your own website, app or software. Another company, such as Esendex, provides the API and sends your messages for you, through its own API gateway.

Customers therefore use APIs to integrate the function of being able to send and receive business messages, into their own systems. You can find out more about how quick this is to implement and how it works here.

The benefits of APIs

The benefits of an API is that it enables you to send accurate, personalised and customised messages in large volumes automatically within seconds, 24/7. 

Once business messaging is integrated into your own website, app or software, you can send messages automatically in response to almost any event. Popular examples are shown in our API video

Let’s say you’re an online retailer. Using an SMS API, you can keep in touch with your customers, whether that’s by sending order or delivery updates via SMS message. For example, if the delivery time changes or there are items in the order that needed to be replaced, you can automatically re-send the notification to update the customer. 

For your customers, it means they can:

  • See when they need to be at home, so they don’t miss their delivery.
  • Receive any order or delivery updates ASAP, as they’re more likely to notice an SMS much sooner than an email.

For your business, it means you can:

  • Inform customers as soon as a delivery time is confirmed or changes, enhancing your reputation for great service.
  • Minimise any operational disruption and costs associated with customers not being in and having to return goods to the warehouse.

Using an API for SMS or WhatsApp to automate your notifications, helps to ensure that customers will see and act on them within the time period you need them to. Plus, an API can help deliver great customer experience, thanks to its ability to provide prompt updates and keep customers in the loop.

Image representing grocer using SMS API for delivery updates

SMS API and WhatsApp API vs email

If the message you want to communicate is important, or time critical, then automated notifications by SMS or WhatsApp using an API is an ideal solution, just like Ocado did!

Ocado chose an SMS API (text message API) over email for two simple reasons:

  • It ensures their delivery notification gets seen by their customer ASAP.
  • It helps to guarantee the customer will act on it.

The quick and direct nature of receiving important text notifications is preferred by consumers over email, which can be lost in spam folders or easily missed.

90% of consumers will read a text sent to them within 3 minutes of it being sent and will respond to it on average within 90 seconds. Contrast this with email, where the average response time is 2½ days.

An API can send automate the sending of messages 24/7, helping to drive better customer engagement, service delivery and operational cost savings.

How to get the most out of your messaging API 

Want to learn more? Discover all the benefits of using an SMS API or WhatsApp API, by downloading our API product factsheet.

Or why not activate your free trial, get your API key and see how easy it is to integrate today.

Author Avatar
michael fereday