We’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about various ways Best Buy teams and partners use our APIs to improve efficiency and enhance product data, but we haven’t done as much exploring of how our APIs directly benefit Best Buy customers. As it turns out, there’s plenty of neat stuff going on behind the scenes. We spoke to Web Product Manager Matthew Hurewitz from the Best Buy Product Development team about one of the prototype projects we’ve had in the offing.

Anyone who’s worked in retail knows that getting customers in the door is just the first step. Sometimes people who visit a store leave without making a purchase, for any number of reasons. Hurewitz’s team is looking for ways to better serve Best Buy customers who may leave the store because they can’t find the specific items they’re looking for, whether the product is out of stock or simply located in a different part of the store.

“The question is, how do we smoothly inform and direct someone to another channel once they’re in the store?” Hurewitz continues. The initial test included a combination of messaging, with signage placed in select stores directing customers to either scan a QR code for the out-of-stock item or visit the Best Buy website. That’s where the APIs came in. Hurewitz built a script that allowed him to take items from a SKU list and generate QR codes for each. Using our Remix API (now known as the Products API), he was able to encode each QR code to launch the correct URL. A simple task, but an essential one — which is kind of the core of the API experience, when you think about it.

As for the customer retention issue, the jury is still out on the best solution. Whatever the answer, we’re pleased to know that Best Buy APIs played a part in getting there.

Building community at Hack the Gap

by Ira Brooker on 6/02/2015

As you might have gathered from some of our past features, we here on the Best Buy API team are pretty enthused about the growing role of women in tech. This May we were delighted to have several of our team members take part in Hack the Gap, the first all-women hackathon in the Twin Cities. Sponsored in part by woman-oriented tech groups Geekettes and GR8Ladies, Hack the Gap’s stated mission is to “unite the women of the tech community and empower them to lead, innovate, and make.”

“Smart” has a lot of meanings these days, especially in the tech world. While Best Buy’s does involve plenty of smart devices, we’re talking “smart” in the classic sense. These lists are about smarter shopping, allowing users to aggregate products within our subcategories and sort the results by best-selling and top-rated products within those categories.

Why We Love Our Open APIs

by Ira Brooker on 4/21/2015

Open APIs are something of a misnomer, inasmuch as they’re not quite as open as the name might imply. Yes, an open API is available to developers to use more or less as they see fit, but not just anybody can hop on and tinker.

How to Talk to Non-Techies About APIs

by Ira Brooker on 4/07/2015

I joined Best Buy API team last winter with only the most cursory knowledge of what an API is or does. After five months of trying to explain to my friends and family what exactly it is we do at my job, I’ve learned that I wasn’t alone. It seems practically nobody who doesn’t regularly work with APIs has much idea what they are or what they do.

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