Walgreens is planning updates to its API program by the end of next month, including the release of an API that allows users of Walgreens partner's applications to add items to a Walgreens shopping cart from their own apps, according to a Walgreens blog post by Drew Schweinfurth, developer evangelist at Walgreens API.
The Add to Cart API is in beta testing now, and Schweinfurth told retail Dive via e-mail that in the coming year Walgreens expects to focus on creating Retail Products APIs — services that connect to various parts of the Walgreens retail business.
The retailer also plans to offer an enhancement to its Photo Prints HTML Checkout API that enables faster loading and a "snappier mobile web page experience," the post stated. An enhancement to the existing Store Locator API will allow developers to add individual store numbers for all Walgreens stores to their apps.
API development has been getting more popular among retailers and marketers in recent years as they have been seeking to expand the horizons of their brands and mobile user experiences. Schweinfurth said the benefit to Walgreens in offering APIs will hopefully be increased store traffic, as well as other benefits.
Walgreens has been one of the more aggressive retailers in the development of APIs over the last five years. The APIs are targeted at developers representing Walgreens partners, and other firms with apps and mobile web experiences where it makes sense to have a direct connection to Walgreens enabled for their users. The effort started in 2012, when the company created Photo APIs for outside developers to use. A year later, it introduced Pharmacy APIs, in 2014 it added Loyalty APIs and in 2016 it released a Digital Offers API, Schweinfurth said.
"We have a go to market strategy that we found to be extremely successful," Schweinfurth said. "We let everyone access our APIs in a staging (sandbox) environment. If they want to release their integration to the world they must go through our quality assurance and testing process, which takes about a day or so. Once approved we give them full permission to release their integration."
Other retailers have their own active API programs, so Walgreens may not be unique in that sense. But not everyone is offering a capability like the Add to Cart API, and while some third party e-commerce platform providers can enable similar capabilities for retailers, the list of retailers developing such an API in-house is likely a short one.