Contextual Commerce, also referred to as “frictionless commerce,” is making waves in the future of online shopping experiences. The idea is to make purchases easier and more streamlined by reaching consumers no matter how they browse online — and to provide a quick and painless purchasing experience that allows them to buy a product the moment they’re thinking about it.
As we touched on in our post about new retail trends and NRF’s BIG Show, the landscapes of both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce shopping experiences are changing. Between the Internet of Things and developments like wearable tech, technology is evolving in a way that blurs the lines between our lifestyles and the “equipment” we use on a daily basis. In response, the way consumers expect to purchase products is evolving as well.
A current example of a company succeeding at contextual commerce is Uber. A user downloads an app, stores their payment information, and with a few clicks, they can order a car to anywhere. When the ride is over, they just leave the car — no tipping, fumbling with money or trying to sign receipts like traditional taxi services. This ease of transaction is what makes Uber so popular, particularly with younger consumers. And because their payment information is stored in the app, they don’t even need their wallet on them — just a smartphone.
Consumers Want Immediate Service
The “want it now” mentality of many consumers is leading other companies to launch similar services just to keep up with expectations. Amazon’s 1-Click purchase option allows buyers to select, pay for and ship a product with one click of a button, making it easier for consumers to purchase items they buy frequently.
Social media platforms are also coming out with their own versions of contextual commerce. Pinterest has rolled out its “Buy It” button, which allows mobile users to purchase available products directly from the app through Apple Pay or stored personal card information. Pinterest is an ideal place to offer this service because of the nature of the platform: users are constantly perusing images of items they like, and instead of pinning them to buy later, they’re now able to act on their impulse to purchase a great item in that moment.
Contextual Commerce and the Merchant Opportunity
The opportunities contextual commerce offers merchants are endless. For years, ads have been trying to reach customers at the right time in order to sell more products. But no matter how user-friendly the website is, the process has still been arduous. Consumers would have to click on an ad, navigate to a new page and go through a long process of multiple pages and buttons while entering numerous lines of information, just to buy a single item. Frictionless commerce drastically reduces the time and effort needed to complete a purchase, effectively lowering the barrier between merchants and consumers. If you can engage with a consumer on a certain platform and allow them to buy your product without disrupting that engagement, your business will come out on top.
More companies are sure to start offering these services to online shoppers, and mobile is guaranteed to play a large part in that as well. But with one in four people citing concerns over having their data intercepted or their phones hacked, the success of these transactions will depend largely on their security. For contextual commerce transactions to maintain their ease of use, they will require sensitive payment information to be stored on website accounts, within apps or on mobile phones — and while we’ve noted that mobile wallets are fairly secure for users, there’s still a level of distrust when it comes to the technology.
Merchants who plan to capitalize on this next wave of purchasing trends will have to up their security game to win the trust of consumers. By combining contextual commerce transaction opportunities with complete transaction security, both large and small retailers can win the hearts of consumers looking to streamline the purchasing experience. Bluefin offers a variety of products to secure every payment channel, including PCI-validated P2PE for mobile, retail and call center payments, and transparent redirect and tokenization for eCommerce. For more information about how you can take the first step toward earning consumer trust by improving your data security, contact Bluefin today.