Growth Spark Guest Blog Series Part 1- APIs: A Developer's Pitch on Upgrading to Shopify Plus

Growth Spark Guest Blog Series Part 1- APIs: A Developer's Pitch on Upgrading to Shopify Plus

Thursday, May 18, 2017Lauren Macdonald Shopify Plus offers unparalleled support, infrastructure and security for your e-commerce business, but, these are all table-stakes in the world of enterprise e-commerce. If you really want to understand the benefits of upgrading or migrating to Shopify Plus, you need to take a closer look under-the-hood. Given that eBridge Connections lives in the world of APIs and data management, we decided to put together an article that explores the many unique benefits that your e-commerce development team might find when using Shopify Plus and how those translate to potential growth for your business.
 
This week, we bring you Part 1, which analyzes Shopify’s plentiful API library and the benefits this brings for developers building on the Shopify and Shopify Plus platforms.
 
APIs
Shopify's rich API library is what makes it a favorite among developers, who are able to build within and on-top of the platform with incredible ease. As a Shopify Plus merchant, you'll gain access to a number of exclusive APIs, adding a deeper layer of functionality to your store. These APIs include:
 
Discount API
Discount Codes form the backbone of any promotional strategy within Shopify. They allow merchants to provide percentage-based, fixed amount or free shipping offers to their customers. Currently, Shopify allows for some control over how these discount codes can be applied by requiring order minimums, limiting them to certain products, collections or customer groups, or by setting a date or quantity expiration. During Shopify's annual Unite conference, they announced that this entire system will be overhauled with a much more flexible 'Pricing Rules Engine' to be unveiled in the coming months. In the meantime, Shopify Plus merchants can create, disable, enable or destroy Discount Codes 'on the fly' using the Discount API. This could be a great way to automate some of your Discount Code management and even 'trigger' the creation of certain Discount Codes based on particular customer behavior.
 
Additional Resources  
Multipass API
Multipass login speaks to the need of merchants that maintain an existing external database of users that might also need access to Shopify. For example, a merchant that runs an online forum that wants to allow their forum members to purchase products through a separate store can help make the process easier by 'integrating' the existing forum user profiles with their Shopify customer profiles. This is accomplished via a Multipass login that will redirect users from the forum to the Shopify store and seamlessly log them into the store with the same email address. Overall, this creates a better experience for users and eliminates the need to directly synchronize with another customer database.

Additional Resources  
Gift Card API
Gift Cards are used within Shopify to handle both store credits as well as the traditional concept of pre-paying for a Gift Card that can later be redeemed as payment during checkout. They're a ubiquitous offering in the world of e-commerce and a vital component to running a successful online store. The Gift Cart API allows merchants to view, create, modify and disable Gift Cards on the fly. This is an especially important feature when migrating from another e-commerce platform to Shopify where existing Gift Card balances need to be carried over. This would be impossible without the use of Shopify's Gift Card API.
 
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User API
Shopify distinguishes between Customers and Users, those that purchase from the store vs those that manage the store. Although it's not a feature that's likely needed too often, the User API allows merchants to get information associated with the admin Users that are set up within their account. This can be helpful for merchants looking to build a more robust method, such as via a private app, of querying information related to the Users setup within their store.
 
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API Call Limits
Like most professional SaaS products, Shopify uses the 'leaky bucket' algorithm as a controller for API calls. As mentioned in their API documentation, "The bucket size is 40 calls (which cannot be exceeded at any given time), with a "leak rate" of 2 calls per second that continually empties the bucket. If your app averages 2 calls per second, it will never trip a 429 error ("bucket overflow")."As a Shopify Plus merchant, the call limit can be increased for private apps. This is especially helpful during a migration process where large amounts of data are being added to Shopify, such as important tens of thousands of products. This can also be helpful if merchants find themselves using reporting tools that hit Shopify's API with a large number of calls as well.
 
Additional Resources Next week we’ll look at Shopify Apps and explore how being a Shopify Plus merchant will gain you access to a number of exclusive Apps that will empower your business. Stay tuned!
 

Written by: Growth Spark