WordPress has grown to become far more than a leading content management platform. Thanks to its flexibility and a huge international community of developers, WordPress powers 38% of websites in the world. With WordPress API integration, enterprise customers can use WordPress in conjunction with existing systems. In this article, we use real-world examples to demonstrate how the WordPress REST API integrates with third-party systems and the opportunities this provides enterprise customers.
What is an API anyway?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of rules that allows two different programmes to talk to each other. Without them, different websites and applications wouldn’t be able to communicate.
WordPress uses lots of internal APIs to connect with various plugins and extensions. Plugins and theme developers need these APIs to interface with WordPress’s core and ultimately add functionality to your WordPress website.
It becomes far more exciting when WordPress begins communicating with external systems. This requires a specific API called a REST API.
REST API’s Explained
REST stands for Representational State Transfer. A REST API is an agreed set of standards that make it possible for two completely different systems to understand each other.
Imagine two strangers meet, one from Russia, the other from England, each speaking their own language. As neither would be able to understand the other, they wouldn’t be able to set up a new trade deal.
Now imagine that before they met, they both agreed to communicate in a third language, in this case, French. This language was created with agreed constraints and rules.
The Russian and English strangers meet again but now they can communicate effectively in French. They can easily arrange a new trade agreement where they swap goods. But within their own communities, they continue to communicate in their mother tongue. The Russian and English languages may change over time, but this doesn’t impact the French language that they use to communicate with each other.
This language, that lets two separate entities to communicate and swap information, serves the same function as a REST API.
Let’s bring this back to the digital world. Without this common language, a REST API, two systems would not be able to communicate and move data between them.
For Google Maps to appear on a WordPress website, the Google Maps API is required. This is an agreed set of rules that means Google Maps and WordPress can interact, or interface, with each other.
REST APIs are in use all over the web. They are the most common way for separate systems to communicate with each other.
The WordPress REST API
WordPress created its own REST API in 2016. This is a set of code that makes it possible for external applications and websites to communicate with WordPress and for them to request, send and add data between them. It massively increased the potential and flexibility of WordPress, enabling it to become much more than just a website platform. Now you can use WordPress to run applications.
The REST API created a standardised way for external systems to extrapolate data out of WordPress. In practice, this means that a third-party website or mobile app could access a WordPress database, fetch data from it and add data to it, without having to load and interact with the full WordPress website.
For enterprise customers, WordPress API integration opens up an enormous opportunity to maximise the potential of WordPress in conjunction with existing systems.
How WordPress Can Integrate with Enterprise Systems
It’s much easier to understand the possibilities the WordPress REST API offers by outlining real-world examples of enterprise systems integrated with WordPress.
eCommerce & WooCommerce Opportunities
- The WordPress REST API can integrate with your office software to process orders automatically.
- Send requests directly to the manufacturer and order straight to the warehouse for picking. There is no need for complicated manual back and forth with the WordPress website front-end.
- Your business can communicate with label and postage services who can then receive, input and submit data, without having to adopt new systems.
- You can get orders from a completely separate third-party marketplace and process them through your WordPress website.
KIJO eCommerce Case Study: Soaring Sales at Crucial Trading
Crucial Trading manufacture and supply high-quality, bespoke floor coverings. In the quality furnishings market, tangible swatch samples are one of the most important tools for customer conversion. It was essential to develop a system for Crucial Trading and their customers that made receiving and delivering orders of samples efficient and reliable.
Using the WordPress REST API, we transformed the swatch sample ordering process. We integrated the website front-end with a separate backend ordering system. This way, when customers place an order for a swatch sample, it is automatically sent to the fulfilment team, who then send the sample to the customer. Creating an automated system cut down on manual processes and reduced customer waiting time.
This efficient system, combined with a re-design of the website front-end, produced an incredible 988% increase in rug orders.
Improving Marketing Systems with WordPress API Integration
WordPress REST API has implications far beyond eCommerce. It can transform business operations in outreach and marketing.
- Enquiries can be instantly sent to marketing software, without the need for separate companies to adopt identical systems.
- Send customer details directly into CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
- You can receive and process data on customer behaviour and preferences, regardless of where that information is coming from, and use it to make personalised recommendations to customers.
- Collect and store customer contact details in your email marketing software for future newsletters and email engagement.
KIJO Marketing Case Study: Effortless Data Retention
Brand new gaming platform, Duel Gaming, wanted to use email marketing to connect with their growing customer base. We integrated their email marketing service to make it quick and easy to collect customer contact information via the newly designed website and easily access this for future email marketing campaigns.
WordPress API Integration for Apps
The WordPress REST API makes it possible for any enterprise WordPress website to communicate with native smartphone apps. Data can move in any direction. Apps can display content from WordPress and user information and enquiries can be sent from an app directly back to WordPress.
From login and registering, to user management and permissions, use WordPress as an application framework to fully power entire native apps.
KIJO’s App Creations
Crucial Trading had a pre-existing rug builder tool where customers could create a custom rug on their website. With the extended capability provided by the WordPress REST API, we rebuilt this feature and also created an AR (augmented reality) native application that seamlessly integrated with the website.
Following the redesign, the website rug builder was 5x faster, thanks to caching made possible by the WordPress REST API. The new ‘Inspire’ app allows customers to build a bespoke rug and ‘place’ it in their home. Users can access any rugs they have created, in-app or on the website, via their Crucial trading account and view them in situ using the 3D imaging technology. A powerful, immersive experience, the integrated AR technology sets Crucial Trading apart from their competitors and played a key role in increasing sales by 988%.
Paperwork is a profit killer. Native application, Noti, powered by WordPress, improves operational efficiency and reliability for businesses by providing a digital alternative to paper forms. With the power and flexibility provided by the WordPress REST API, Noti account users can submit forms digitally from any mobile device. Previously scattered paperwork can now be accessed by any team member via the company Noti account.
Using WordPress API Integration to Build Single Page Applications
As demand for web applications overtakes traditional desktop applications, SPA’s (single-page applications) are becoming increasingly popular. A SPA is an app that operates inside a browser, that doesn’t require the page to reload while it’s in use. When users click a link, rather than the whole page reloading, the changes happen almost instantly. Most of us rely heavily on SPA’s in our everyday lives; Google Docs, Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook and Twitter are all single-page applications. The benefits are clear: quicker page loading provides a far better user experience.
With the release of the Word REST API, WordPress can now be used as a headless CMS. This means that WordPress can handle all of the content management on the backend and serve this up via its API. Developers are then free to build a custom frontend, using the technology of their choice, to create a SPA.
Endless Opportunities with WordPress API Integration
WordPress API integration opens up an ever-increasing range of opportunities for enterprise businesses. WordPress can now be fully incorporated with existing, bespoke enterprise systems. There are few limitations, beyond our imagination, to the application of this technology. Essential, however, is utilising the correct methods and hiring the right development team with the required skillset. At KIJO, we have been using this technology since its inception. If you would like to learn more about how you can use WordPress as a powerful tool for your enterprise business, get in touch.