If you want to set up a lemonade stand, when is the best time to do it? When it’s a hot day, of course. And where should you do it? If making money is your goal, you should set it up where the crowds are. This is contextual commerce in its simplest form: Giving people what they want, when they want it, with very little effort needed on their part. While selling lemonade on the corner isn’t going to make you millions, it offers a valuable lesson for every marketing department to consider. But what could happen to your sales if you put contextual commerce into play in a much larger scale?

What is Contextual Commerce?

In today’s world, contextual commerce goes a little bit further than selling the right item at the right time in the right place. Thanks to the smartphone takeover, if you want to incorporate contextual commerce into your marketing strategy, you have to use the data these devices provide. If you aren’t tracking the user’s habits to understand their needs and give them what they want, then you aren’t doing your job.

Problems with the Current Commerce System

What’s wrong with today’s shopping system? People can buy things fairly easily, can’t they? When you break it down, shopping is a lot of work. The consumer has to shop around to find the exact item they need, then they have to go out, locate the item in the store, deal with crowds, and so on and so forth. Even online shopping takes a lot of initiative on the shopper’s part: search for the item, read it’s reviews, find the lowest price, try to get free shipping, etc. It’s a process whichever way you slice it. With contextual commerce, the entire shopping process gets simplified and automated—and in doing so, drives the consumer to spend more money (because it was so dang easy!).

Contextual Commerce in Action

To help you further understand just how important contextual commerce is for your marketing strategy, let’s take a look at one way it could work. Molly loves drinking a protein shake after every workout. Instead of her having to keep track of how many she has left, and then going to buy more before she runs out, her fitness tracker could relay information to the company she buys her protein shakes from. As soon as she’s completed 24 workouts, the protein shake company will ship her a new 24-pack of shakes automatically.

While that was just a probable scenario, there are some companies that have already incorporated contextual commerce into their marketing strategy. MasterCard is one of them. They have partnered with Cubic Transportation Systems to give their customers a major travel advantage. They will be able to:

  • Purchase discounted on-peak tickets through Cubic’s NextWave app
  • Receive real-time travel tips when they need them most
  • Get rewards and incentives from the retailers around them in the transportation hubs

Things to Keep in Mind

Clearly, the possibilities of contextual commerce are pretty darn exciting. However, if it’s not put into action appropriately, it could do more harm than good. Think about it: if a customer purchases from hundreds of companies, and each one is sending them on-the-spot offers and alerts, it could get pretty annoying. So please, make sure that when you do start using contextual commerce, you do so on an opt-in basis. That way, you won’t waste your marketing dollars contacting people that aren’t interested, and you won’t lose any potential customers by being annoying.

As technology continues to develop, the potential of contextual commerce will continue to grow. To help your company keep up with the latest and the greatest in your marketing strategy, contact Rebel Interactive Group today.

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