Archive for January, 2014

The eCommerce buying API powering amberExpress. Order products from 50+ retailers with code

A couple of weeks ago we did a Show HN describing amberExpress, an iOS profile users can install and then use to purchase products with 2 taps from 55+ retailers.

Today we want to write about the core part of our technology: the API for placing orders with retailers.

From the start we have been building a platform that can be used by any developer to programmatically buy real life products. Over the past year we grew from supporting 3 stores to having 56 at the end of the year. We now have a scalable system of adding support for new stores, and keeping them working.

However having an API is not enough. We wanted to to offer a turn-key solution that can be integrated by our users in less than 2 hours.

With that in mind we created an HTML5 interface that takes full advantage of all the features our API provides. It’s incredibly easy to use and can be customised to integrate in all kinds of environments.

Below you can see how the HTML5 interface works. You can use the random product we chose or pick one yourself from the stores listed here.

  
Test the HTML5 interface

function testStore(mobileURL, callbackURL, appToken, random) {
mobileURL = ‘https://mobile.amber.io’;
var product = document.getElementById(‘product_url’).value;
if (!product || product.length == 0) {
showAlert(‘Please enter a valid product url’, ‘error’);
return;
}
var popupURL = mobileURL + “?public_token=” + appToken + “&unique_token=” + random + “&callback_url=” + callbackURL + “&products=” + encodeURIComponent(encodeURIComponent(product));

var newWindow = window.open(popupURL, ‘name’, ‘width=360, height=440, menubar=no, scrollbars=no, toolbars=no’);

if (window.focus) {
newWindow.focus();
}
return false;
}

But enough talk, here are three ways of integrating it. The full documentation can be found here.

HTML5 interface

In your app redirect users or open a pop-up to the HTML5 interface with a list of products. If it’s a mobile app open a WebView. This is very similar to the simple demo above.

The HTML5 interface supports a series of awesome features like: pre-filling fields, custom CSS support, affiliate links, and coupons.

API

Using the API directly. This is quite advanced but it allows you to create your own custom checkout experiences. We’d love to help you get things off the ground, feel free to get in touch.

Quick Checkout Banner

On iOS/Android when you open the WebViews to stores you can insert your own HTML/JS code. All you have to do is insert the lines below and if the user is on a product page we support she will see a quick checkout button at the top of the page similar to amberExpress. This is probably the easiest integration (should take less than 5 minutes).

http://amberexpress.com/a/a.js’/script
<link href=’http://amberexpress.com/a/a.css&rsquo; media=’screen’ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’/>

We’re excited and look forward to seeing what you’re going to use it for. Feel free to email me at radu@amber.io with any technical questions or founders@amber.io for general inquiries.

On an ending note, we’d like to pre-emptively answer two questions we’ve been receiving often:

– Yes, we’ll add support for Amazon.

– The first 100 monthly transactions are free, which should account for testing purposes. For more than 100 monthly transactions we charge an estimated percentage of developer revenues from the affiliate revenue generated.

Mobile traffic up 28% YOY on Christmas Day

IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark just published the figures for mobile sales on Christmas Day 2013, here’s the excerpt:

  • Mobile Traffic and Sales: Mobile traffic was the highest we’ve seen over this holiday season, accounting for 48 percent of all online traffic, up 28.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Mobile sales also remained strong, approaching 29 percent of all online sales, up 40 percent over 2012.

Full data here.

What’s your guess for next year? 🙂