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Best Buy announced today that it will allow other retailers to access the Best Buy online store and execute transactions through use of its commerce application programming interface (API) and will no longer require partners to route customers to the Best Buy website.
Say you’re shopping at Mom and Pop’s computer store and need a video card that the store doesn’t sell. You can now order that card directly from Best Buy without leaving Mom and Pop’s website if they are a retail partner with Best Buy. The first partner will be Bridge2Solutions, which has the infrastructure to manage rewards programs like Best Buy’s own buyer rewards program.
The commerce API is open to developers starting today, but they’ll have to go through a review process to get a hold of it. Best Buy is also integrating the commerce API into its own mobile app, which will allow users to make purchases without being redirected to the mobile website like they are today.
Opening the API up to other retail partners is part of Best Buy’s “Connected World” strategy, said Kumar Kandaswamy, director for open API platform. The idea is to bridge the in-store retail experience with mobile and online shopping and streamline the whole process. Instead of jarring shoppers by sending them from website to website, the new API will allow users to finish their shopping more quickly.
What isn’t clear is how the API will affect revenue from Best Buy’s warranty, in-house maintenance and set up service Geek Squad. There are currently no immediate plans to include Geek Squad and warranty services along with access to the Best Buy store through its commerce API, but there’s always a possibility that they will be included down the line, Kandaswamy said.
Kandaswamy was mum on how much the API cost to develop, but said the return on Best Buy’s investment in terms of customer reach was well worth it.
“Over the last 18 months we’ve invested a lot in our mobile platform, and opening up the API will let us have a much more complete offering from a platform perspective,” Kandaswamy said.