industry trends

Why the World’s Most Successful B2Bs Prioritize Flexible APIs


In PactSafe’s Thinking Like a Tech company series, I’ve walked through the evolution of prospecting and retaining consumers of today, outlining the necessity of strategic purchasing and onboarding experiences. In this final part of the series, I’m going to outline where to start with the logistics of getting these strategies off the ground. Start with your product team, and build APIs (B2B) customers can connect to directly.

Why an API B2B Customers Can Connect to Directly is so Important

Building APIs into your products and services helps businesses innovate faster across the board. Take a look back at my first article in this series where I outline the rapid innovation of Amazon in the following infographic:


Amazon has been able to innovate and grow at a rapid rate over the past decade; TechCrunch outlines the beginning of Amazon’s insane success: In 2000, Amazon was an “e-commerce company struggling with scale problems. Those issues forced the company to build some solid internal systems to deal with the hyper growth it was experiencing.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos mandated that all of the company’s developers had to create “services” (or APIs) based on a proposal to him that identified the issues in driving scalable development as the company grew so other teams could easily integrate. This is how Amazon Web Services was born—and it now powers the bulk of Amazon’s margin and profits.

“We expected all the teams internally from that point on to build in a decoupled, API-access fashion, and then all of the internal teams inside of Amazon expected to be able to consume their peer internal development team services in that way. So very quietly around 2000, we became a services company with really no fanfare...” —AWS CEO Andy Jassy

The Lifetime Value of Customers That Integrate is Significantly Higher

All companies—your customers—are always looking for ways to do more business in real-time in a seamless, frictionless way. Integrations through APIs make this experience possible. Many successful companies introduce this idea of one-step integration to their products and services to new markets. Businesses like Amazon have empowered their customers to use their services by providing an easy, simple way to integrate—making their products and services stickier.

Businesses also find success in opening up products and services to third-party developers and companies that your customer(s) may work with, allowing for productized integrations that customers can plug and play without writing code (which could create high-margin revenue streams for your business). Microsoft and Dropbox, for example, partnered together to make editing documents possible from right within Dropbox.

Why Uber, Best Buy Prioritize Flexible APIs

Best Buy is a B2C business, but it has a large affiliate network. The partner companies are able to connect to Best Buy’s open API, linking to what they sell. The API is built so affiliates can see in real-time what new products are being released, what’s in stock, what’s trending, and more.

Uber has also prioritized a flexible API, launching its Uber RUSH API in 2015-2016, making it simple for small businesses to integrate Uber into its delivery services. Via Fortune, “this means that any business could, in theory, enlist Uber’s drivers as its delivery fleet with just a push of a few buttons. All they have to do is plug the UberRush tool into their website, apps, and whatever internal dashboard they have, customize the service, and voila.”

Customers (of B2B and B2C businesses) are more tech-enabled than ever, and they are looking for ways to streamline their own business systems and purchasing methods. Companies are prioritizing APIs to enhance their customer experience, or wherever customers fit into the supply chain of their business. The more integrated they are into your technology, the more value you serve and stickiness your solution and services provide.

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Read our Thinking Like a Tech Company Series

This is the sixth feature in our 6-part series from our COO, "Thinking Like a Tech Company in 2018". This series highlights the shifts in consumer behavior and its impact on how we do business today. 

Here are parts 1-5 in this series:

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