How Walgreens' API Program Leverages Seasonality And Revenue Sharing

This case study is the seventh part of our series on 8 Real World API Strategies and The Keys To Their Success. In part 6, we looked at how TransportAPI has identified a broader context for the use of their transport data and leveraged that to steadily grow an API as product business.

This case study looks at the strategies employed by Walgreens that has helped them generate month-on-month growth in developer engagement and in the creation of new products, services and processes that rely on Walgreens’ Photo Prints API.

Pharmacy and wellness retailer Walgreens provides a Photo Prints API that enables developers to integrate directly with Walgreens’ photo printing service from their own mobile and web app products, particularly image and photo apps.

The API provides a revenue share model, whereby developers can earn income for every image that is ordered for printing from within the developer’s app or website. The API has seen developer adoption grow more than 200% through 2014 and into 2015.

Key to the API’s growth has been a range of developer promotions that provide higher revenue sharing rates around key dates for photo printing. In summer and around Valentine’s Day, for example, Walgreens helps developers leverage seasonal trends to encourage their end users to make use of photo printing services.

This case study demonstrates that when an API provider shares data on key sales trends with developers--much as a retail brand may inform franchises of key sales opportunities—it can implement a “rising tide lifts all boats” growth strategy that creates a win-win for both Walgreens and its third-party API consumers.

Walgreens is a fascinating API to watch as it shows how a large-scale enterprise with significant market share in a traditional industry is adapting to leverage its APIs and maintain the focus on customer experience.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.