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Businesses today are going through radical digital transformation in an attempt to create better customer experiences. From mobile to Facebook Messenger to connected home devices, customers today engage with businesses through a variety of digital channels. A single consumer, for example, can have over 900 digital interactions when purchasing a car.

As I discussed on a recent Web Summit panel called Desktop and apps: Is mobile the future of enterprise?, businesses across industries need to look beyond mobile and embrace all digital channels disrupting the customer journey.

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Our Connectivity Benchmark Report confirms that 88% of IT decision makers (ITDMs) are either executing on digital transformation now or will be in the next three years to enable new partner, employee, or customer experiences. These experiences are likely to be through mobile, chat, or other digital channels.

Mobile initiatives, in particular, seem to be important to IT decision makers. We found that 55% of ITDMs consider “going mobile” as one of the top ways that businesses are transforming the customer experience.

There’s no denying the shift toward mobile is taking place in the enterprise. What CIOs and other tech leaders need to remember, is that mobile is just one channel and that customers expect to interact with businesses across all digital channels. Businesses shouldn’t focus only on “going mobile;” rather, they should work on expanding their reach by opening up multiple digital channels––from mobile and wearables to desktop, kiosks, and voice.

This is where APIs come in.

How APIs create a seamless customer experience

Today, APIs are driving transformation and cultural shifts within businesses. APIs are there to unlock digital assets and provide the capabilities for your digital strategy. Take the experience of McDonald’s––one of the largest fast-food chain restaurants in the world. They built their digital strategy using an API-led approach and MuleSoft and, in turn, rolled out innovative digital experiences that are now paying dividends.  

For their first project, they used Anypoint Platform and API-led connectivity to build a mobile app that enables customers to order food on the go, quickly pick up their orders, locate nearby McDonald’s locations, and more. The app’s capabilities were built using APIs that connected various applications and data sources. But McDonald’s didn’t stop there. They re-used these APIs to open up new digital channels.

For example, some of the same APIs were used to offer a different customer experience through in-store kiosks; where McDonald’s customers can quickly input and pay for their orders in a matter of clicks. The experience is the same no matter whether you make your order via the mobile app, the kiosk, or at the counter with an employee.

Other companies have also embraced an API-led strategy to open up all of their digital channels more quickly. One example is Wawa, a convenience and gas station chain with over 250 stores across the Eastern U.S. Similarly, they also wanted to build a mobile app. Here’s the catch, they aspired to become the ‘Starbucks’ mobile app for loyalty points.

So why did a gas station want that?

It turns out that Wawa has an extremely interesting business dynamic. They had a very loyal customer base, who would drive miles and miles to their stores to eat their delicious doughnuts.

To take advantage of that loyalty, they built a mobile app with MuleSoft – focused on loyalty rewards – in just under six weeks. That mobile app now serves over 100,000 customers. And within four months, the mobile app became a completely different type of digital channel––a channel where the company can deliver a more personalized customer experience by providing real-time gas prices to customers and pushing new products and services more quickly.

Looking beyond mobile

If there’s one takeaway from McDonald’s and Wawa’s story it’s this: CIOs, forget mobile apps, mobile-only is no longer good enough. Your job is to activate all digital channels as quickly as possible. And this can be achieved more quickly by pursuing an API-led strategy.

Learn more about how you can enable digital channels with API-led connectivity.