API stands for the Application Programming Interface. An API is the messenger that makes requests and tells the system what you want to do; and then returns the response back to you. This is how the Landis API works, an eCommerce business has a variety of products available to their consumers. The consumer places an order with the eCommerce business on an online shopping cart. The Landis API requests the consumer's order data from the eCommerce business's shopping cart. If the status of the order is "unshipped" it is then pulled into Landis's system. Landis fulfills the order, and once the product has shipped the API sends back the tracking number to the eCommerce business's shopping cart.
What is an EDI and how does that differ from an API?
An EDI is an Electronic Data Interchange. It is similar to an API in the sense that it is electronic transmissions that replace manual transmissions; however, it differs because along with an ERP an EDI manages inventory levels and tells suppliers when and how much to send you. An EDI can transmit purchase orders, invoices and shipping requests, but if an eCommerce consumer wanted to buy one of your products an EDI would not be able to send it to Landis for fulfillment.
EDI’s are usually compatible with most accounting software’s. They can be helpful in an eCommerce business if that business is trying to fully automate incoming product and prompt payment for the new goods.