Successful marketplaces have lots of things in common when it comes to core marketplace functionality. But in addition to the essentials, they also have their special sauce – the things that make their user experience and brand unique.
The goal for Sharetribe Flex is to help you achieve both. You get a comprehensive set of essential marketplace features, and you also have the freedom to realize your vision by building custom features and integrations to an ecosystem of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools.
The latest Flex release is a huge step towards even more extendability. Introducing the Integration API, a completely new API for integrating your marketplace with various third-party services.
You can already use the Integration API to add a number of helpful business tools to your marketplace. In the future, it will also enable powerful additions and customizations to your marketplace user experience.
What you can do with the Integration API
A growing marketplace business typically uses several tools to make its processes more efficient. For example, you might use MailChimp for sending newsletters, Airtable for processing your data and creating custom reports, or Close CRM for tracking sales.
To make the best use of such services, you want to connect them with Flex. The new Integration API allows you to do that.
Previously, Flex had only one API: the Marketplace API, where all your essential marketplace functionality lives. It is designed to be safe to use from anywhere, so it only allows you to fetch the kind of information that is accessible to a single, signed-in user: a customer or a provider. But combining information about all individual users and sending it directly to a third-party app isn’t possible.
For the purpose of a typical SaaS integration, this is not ideal. To integrate email marketing or CRM software, for instance, you need to give them a safe access to all of the marketplace data.
This first release of the Integration API allows you to fetch all the data about your users, listings, and transactions programmatically. You can either fetch all the data or specify a range: for instance, only retrieve data about users that were created yesterday, or listings that were created last month.
This makes plenty of integrations and automatic workflows possible. You can, for example
- automatically notify the marketplace operator about new users or listings
- synchronize the marketplace user list to an email marketing or customer support tool
- fetch detailed user or listing information by id on request to show it in other tools or places (e.g., details panel in a customer support tool)
- send a monthly or weekly email to all your users about the latest listings on your marketplace.
These are just some examples of what you can achieve with the new Flex Integration API. There's a large number of different integrations that this powerful API enables.
How to get started with integrations
To get going with building your first integration, have a look at the detailed Getting started with the Integration API guide. It will guide you through all the necessary steps, such as installing the developer tooling, setting up authentication via Applications in Console, and running your integration code on your own machine.
To see a growing collection of working example code, check out our Github repository of Flex Integration API examples. The new Integration API is described in full detail in our API reference documentation.
Up next: future releases of the Integration API
This first release of the Integration API gives you read access to your marketplace data. Upcoming additions will allow you to manipulate the data: edit users and listings, transition transactions, and so on.
There are a number of use cases these future additions will make possible. Here are some of the commonly mentioned:
- Verify the identity of a user using a third-party service.
- Approve a listing automatically once the provider pays a subscription fee using a third-party service.
- Integrate a third-party payment gateway.
- Send SMS or push notifications to your users about new events.
- Keep the calendars of your users automatically in sync with their third-party calendars.
We would love to hear about your experience with the first release of the Integration API and your feedback and feature requests for future releases. You can reach us by replying to this email.