In today’s world, consumers are constantly on their smartphones – interacting with their favorite apps, social media sites, and other connected devices. Not only do they browse – but they buy with just one click, and merchants who insert themselves into this process will win the day.
Contextual commerce is a potentially game-changing idea that merchants can seamlessly implement purchase opportunities into consumers’ everyday activities, such as payment via an app on a mobile device or ordering via voice for a home service. According to PYMNTS.com, 58% of consumers are currently engaging in contextual commerce – 81% through social media sites.
Now is the time for retail merchants to assess their current processes and come up with a strategy for implementing contextual commerce into their business environment.
Contextual Commerce Tips for Retail Merchants
1. Consumers are in a state of constantly buying.
For retailers, this means figuring out strategies to meet customers where they are, rather than trying to pull them into existing transaction structures. Merchants should consider new customer-facing technology via online, mobile, and digital wallets and implementing back-end systems to facilitate alternate ways to complete a transaction. There are many off-the-shelf, affordable options available.
2. The best buyer experience may have nothing to do with the actual purchase.
Buyers want nothing more than to NOT wait in long lines, sit on hold, or input a password multiple times to make a purchase. A smart contextual commerce strategy looks for ways to speed up the purchase process. According to the Digital Consumer Report, 36% of those who are engaging in contextual commerce said they can purchase a product without leaving the social media platform they are viewing it on. Merchants should look for ways to make a purchase seamless for the customer and this will provide the ultimate buyer experience.
3. Technology isn’t the answer; it’s how you use it.
Implementing contextual commerce principals into a retail strategy is not about adopting any one technology, and it extends beyond apps and the internet. Retail merchants should evaluate their customers’ pain points and invest resources to adapt. It could entail POS systems in stores to avoid checkout lines or embracing a range of payment options for quicker purchases.
4. Contextual commerce builds loyalty and more.
Consumers make purchases based on convenience, experience and price. If retailers are successful at creating a seamless transaction process, they will have costumers not only coming back for more but spreading the news online and through word-of-mouth.
5. Contextual commerce is the happening NOW.
Contextual commerce is expanding rapidly through smart devices, mobile apps, POS devices, RFID, NFC, digital wallets, virtual reality and IoT (Internet of Things), and its emergence is still in its infancy. But not for long, as artificial intelligence and machine learning are already working on the front and back ends of the retail process. Employing these technologies will arm retailers with knowledge about their consumers’ behavior and give merchants the opportunity to elevate the consumer experience without even being asked.
Is Your Business Ready for Contextual Commerce?
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