Meet the Shopping API: Programmatically Integrate Your App with eBay

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Now in part 3 of this series, we’re continuing to dissect the ways you can manage your very own piece of eBay’s distributed commerce landscape. Today, we’re looking under the hood of one of the easiest ways to help shoppers find eBay items off of eBay- the Shopping API.

A fast and flexible way to retrieve live eBay data, the Shopping API is perfect for partners whose audience uses their apps or sites to shop eBay. By facilitating programmatic interactions with the eBay marketplace, the eBay Shopping API lets you request information using just a URL, then receive data in XML, JSON, SOAP, or eBay's simple Name/Value format. It’s simple to authenticate (no token required) and embeds easily into app interfaces.

Long-time eBay partner Watchcount uses the Shopping API to provide specific details about a listing that are sometimes difficult to locate on the eBay View Item Page.

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Retrieving data from eBay with the Shopping API is as easy as these two simple steps:

  1. Sign up and get an AppID. [How do I get an AppID?]

  2. Click the button to search for popular items on eBay related to your product(s) of choice.

For example, if an app user is looking for Bose headphones:

  1. The user enters "Bose headphones" in your cool mobile app.

  2. Your app makes a search request for "Bose headphones" using the Shopping API.

  3. The eBay service looks for "Bose headphones” and sends the response back to you via the API.

  4. Your app displays the search results to the user.

The Shopping API even enables you to dive deeper and display products in sub-category layers. On WatchCount, users are able to search with a Category drop-down menu to find the products they want:

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“Whereas the Finding API is mostly focused on delivering the data for current, active items for sale on eBay,” explains the owner of WatchCount, “the Shopping API is generally geared for a developer needing to obtain background eBay data on items, categories, and more. This can help flesh out the functionality and UI of eBay-enabled website, tool, or app.”

A few different ways partners use the Finding and Shopping APIs together include:

  • Partner marketing: Connect your users to eBay’s best items and categories via your app’s search functionality and earn a percentage of eBay’s revenue share. Shoppers can browse eBay’s entire marketplace without ever leaving your site.

  • Selling: If you're a seller, highlight your eBay listings on your own website to earn commissions on your own sales funnel.

  • Cross-Promotion: Make money even when your items don’t sell. Choose from the over 1 billion listings on eBay to promote products that your buyers don't even know they want yet.

  • Subscriptions: Once your app’s value is validated, consider the “freemium” model. It may cost nothing to download, but users can upgrade to a paid subscription with extra features.

  • Offer a service: Further monetize your API-driven "line into eBay" as a service.  Offer eBay sellers assistance in doing things like market research and custom searches.

See the Shopping API Tutorials for an example of using the Shopping and Finding APIs together.

The calls in the Shopping API include:

For information on other input and output formats you can use with the Shopping API, see Making an API Call.

Before you can try any APIs, you’ll need to join the eBay Developer community, which includes over 360,000 members from 190 countries and counting. Membership is free, and you can use virtually any programming language to interface with eBay.

If you’d like to discuss further with a member of the eBay Partnerships team before joining eBay Developers, email us at AskEPN@ebay.com.

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