Best Buy Launches API: Corporate Websites Extend to Open Web

Ignore Everybody

I’m sitting in the Mashery room here at SXSW, a circus themed ‘tent’ with popcorn and geeks galore, I’ll be posting live coverage of things that I see and hear that I think are interesting that matter to corporate web strategists.

A few years ago, I made a claim that corporate websites will be irrelevant. Why? the community –and trust– has shifted off the corporate domain. Similar to my coverage of the Guardian launchings an API, this API is powered by Mashery.

Best Buy launched an API called Remix, that went public yesterday here at SXSW. What is it? It’s the entire product catalog now available to third party developer who can remash the content and create their own version of BestBuy or something that the world has never been seen. I can think of some unique opportunities mixing product recommendations with your Facebook friends. Or pushing this data into GetSatisfaction, an outsourced support site, and allowing products to be better supported by the community.

[Best Buy extends their corporate website by allowing third party developers to build, remix, and innovate with their data.

What’s in it for the developers? First of all, it’s a large mass of content and data that can populate a site –this is great for attracting users, and for SEO. It’s free to use, although there’s an affiliate option where Bestbuy can be one of the options for retail. Best Buy doesn’t force developers to be part of this affiliate program if they choose to go the eCommerce route, instead they give developers the choice –as many developers will choose multiple retail options.

[The Best Buy website is now colonizing to the open web –it’s no longer the sole destination]

This isn’t a golden arrow for BestBuy as they still need to serve up a competitive price, and other services in the data to win over consumers. How did they convince executives? They made the argument that they’ve been releasing a catalog of data since 2000, and developers were already scraping the price –now they make it easier and faster. In order to spur innovation, they’re doing a ‘challenge’ campaign that encourages the community to do problem solving around their products. A popular example would be for the community to design a home theater system, building a digital camera kit with all the accessories, or even suggesting supplemental products for laptops –solution sell.

Considerations: What is the most popular content on your corporate site? Let it go, set it free, and let it bloom.

Update: Remix has a sample gallery, where you can see a few deployments, take camelbuys for example

18 Replies to “Best Buy Launches API: Corporate Websites Extend to Open Web”

  1. The last part – problem solving – sounds interesting but other than that isn’t it just like the Amazon api but eight years later?

  2. The main problem I see is that Best Buy often doesn’t have the best prices (especially in-store). I’ve often been in the store and used the Amazon app on my iPhone to compare prices. The prices were so different, I’d leave Best Buy in disgust.

    So what’s to stop Amazon or some other retailers from putting the Best Buy price right next to their own prices. I guess it depends on the Terms of Use, I am doubtful that everyone will use this API for purposes that benefit Best Buy.

  3. This has been the trend on the theory market for a whil now, awesome to see that enterprises are finally doing it. This should benefit us all, forcing bestbuy to lower their internet prices (not their store prices) and allowing us to pay less.

    Anyways i can’t see the difference with the Amazon’s web service that’s been around for several years. Can you explain what’s the difference other than this is a real retail store?

  4. I love that you are at SXSW. My current company has the worst Web site known to man. When I offered up a social media strategy they said they weren’t ready for it. I was then given a cold-call phone list and spent 50 hours making sales calls to people who weren’t interested, or were on do not call lists.

  5. I’ve been looking at comparison shopping engine (CSE) strategy for a while and as a manufacturer, most of the product feed side of things as far as sku’s, product info, images, pricing etc falls into the reseller side of things and (as the manufacturer) making sure the channel is equipped with the right info to supply to the shopping engines. This looks like a great way to keep everyone in the channel on the same page.

  6. PXLated and eavaria – it is indeed very similar to what Amazon has been doing for years. The main difference, aside from the fact that we have physical stores, is that it’s a different company with different prices. As a consumer, I like having options, and with the Remix API, we’re offering that.

    Rob March – I’m sure you’re right and not all uses will benefit Best Buy. We’re betting that some of them will, and that getting that upside is worth what we are investing in Remix. It’s not like putting our information on the Internet is a new thing; we’ve been doing that with since June 2000. The Remix API just makes it easier to get accurate data from us, so instead of week-old information showing up in shopping engines, we can get near-realtime pricing and availability. If we’re going to lose a sale because our price is higher, I’d much prefer to have that be accurate information instead of the price from last week.

    – Kevin Matheny, Best Buy Remix lead

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