Uber recently announced plans to publish an API. Why is that a big deal? Because it will bring Uber into places that it hasn’t been able to go, and not because of legislation.
Here are a few things that can be learned from Uber’s move:
The Web is Bigger than Your Site: Really. Your site may be your entire world, but it’s only a minuscule part of what’s out there. Even for Uber, who has tremendous reach, they know that integration with other platforms and sites is a great way to expand.
Be Selective Early, Embracing Later: By piloting the “Get an Uber” button with Google maps, Uber had time to test the concept, work out bugs, and refine functionality. Defining a small group of initial integration partners, perhaps only one, will keep your team focused on how to best represent the brand in the context of integration with third parties without being overwhelmed by attempts to support a level of activity for which you aren’t ready. Once the concept has been proven and is working smoothly, embrace the addition of new business partners that complement your brand or take it a step further and just open the API.
Extend Your Brand with Care: Don’t attempt to boil the ocean. Pick a limited set of products or services with which to test market such an integration. Building out a complex API that attempts to be everything to everyone, is likely an expensive and exciting ride down the path to failure. Focus makes all the difference. For Uber’s limited service offering, the focus is inherent. For retailers with vast offerings, choosing the goods and services to start with should be the first order of business. Have you been approached by other businesses with offers to sell or represent your products? Are there specific customer segments that have a high level of interest in a common activity? Take some time and figure out the possibilities and potential.
What are your thoughts on extending a brand’s reach with APIs?