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Retail is under pressure. models are changing rapidly, customers are embracing commerce, and digital and social media are becoming ever more important to the bottom line. In addition, customers are also wanting personalized, customized shopping experiences – and the only way for retailers to provide that is by using personal data collected in previous encounters. But accessing that data and making it available to those who need it isn't always easy.

“The key to success for retailers lies in bringing information out of the depths of their applications and to the forefront of the business,” says MuleSoft founder Ross Mason in his latest piece for LinkedIn. “The information can be leveraged to figure out who the customers are and what the customers might want based on their history. For traditional retailers to survive in the age of Amazon, they need to deliver a seamless customer experience across channels, and they need the agility to keep in step with the changing needs of consumers.”

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We've seen already that Amazon is operating brick-and-mortar stores to provide experiences for customers and to obtain ever more of that precious data about their shoppers. What should retailers do to compete in the Amazon age?

Traditional retailers shouldn't just think about how to keep up with Amazon,” Ross advises. “They should also think about how to beat Amazon by blending the online and physical worlds to offer customers a holistic, enjoyable shopping experience that keeps them coming back.

You can do this by unlocking the information flow is done with APIs. They will unlock data from IT systems and new technologies, such as beacons, to drive decisions based on data to enhance and create differentiated consumer shopping experiences.”

Take a look at more of Ross' thoughts about the future of retail. And for more resources about how APIs can help your business, take a look at our resources for retailers.