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Contextual Commerce: Engaging Shoppers On Their Terms

Originally published by Gerry Gilbert on Retail TouchPoints on September 5, 2017.

We’re living in the age of the customer. Retailers recognize the need to enable consumers to shop on their terms—however they want, wherever they are.

Gerry Gilbert discusses contextual commerceThe introduction of contextual commerce has enabled retailers to seamlessly implement buying opportunities into everyday activities. Whether a shopper is clicking on a Buyable Pin, using Facebook Messenger or talking to their Amazon Echo while doing their weekend housework, shopping is becoming more engaging because it’s happening at the moment of interest and intent to buy, in an environment that makes the experience very natural for the shopper.

We’ve already begun to see forward-thinking brands starting to embrace contextual commerce—mostly in the form of hardware and mobile messaging apps. Specifically, messaging apps have exploded in popularity, eclipsing the top four social networks in active users as of late 2015. What’s more, mobile messaging apps have higher retention and user rates than most mobile apps, and the majority of messaging app users represent the most crucial demographic for brands, advertisers and publishers. With no additional infrastructure required of the consumer, contextual commerce can provide stellar customer experiences as well as interactive customer support.

The Reality Of Millennial Shoppers

The majority of consumers today—Millennials, who are expected to be spending $200 billion annually—value authenticity over the hard sell. They want customized user experiences that cater to their unique preferences, put them in the driver’s seat and make purchasing items seamless and intuitive. Today’s shoppers are constantly connected, using multiple devices at any given time and spending more time on social media than ever before. They expect continual and immediate communication from any retailer they choose to engage with, and they’re not necessarily loyal to large, established brands.

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