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Judith J. Francis

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Published on: 27 Feb 2017 by francisjud

Online fraud detection: PayThink Contextual commerce sputters without deep consumer ties

Every
business that uses apps or online platforms to connect with customers knows
there’s a major transformation underway in how you do business.

 

Customer
convenience is top priority, while the mechanics of sales and payment
transactions are moving out of sight where they are less likely to cause
friction that costs sales.

 

To
take advantage of this confluence of technology known as “contextual commerce,”
you need to know what it is and what it requires. If your business development
plans don’t include reimagining how you will sell to your customers, you risk
losing out to competitors that are thinking beyond the traditional e-commerce
experience.

 

The
defining idea behind contextual commerce is giving your customers the ability
to buy something within the flow of another activity that they’re engaged in.
It’s presenting a product or service right at the moment when the buyer might
naturally want it, without making them go through a separate commerce or
payment experience.

 

Easy
payments are critical: The transaction must occur in the background, relying on
stored payment methods rather than making a buyer key in card details. But
there’s more to it than that.

 

Uber
— which won its massive user base partly by making payments invisible and
freeing riders from worrying about fares and tips — is building out its
contextual commerce vision by striking partnerships. For instance, its deal
with Hilton to link the Uber app with the hotel chain’s loyalty app makes it
easy for travelers to arrange their rides when they are reviewing hotel
reservations.

 

The
WeChat messaging platform, which is hugely popular in China, is another example
of how users can engage in all kinds of transactions without ever leaving their
preferred environment. WeChat users can shop, buy movie tickets, and even pay
bills from within the app.

 

Looking
beyond these examples, we can expect opportunities for new contextual commerce
business models to arise as stored payment technology finds its way into other
environments. Given how much time many Americans spend on the road, one
particularly promising new area is the connected car. GM’s OnStar Go platform,
which will roll out in automobiles starting in 2017, will feature integration
with Mastercard’s Masterpass digital wallet, allowing drivers to buy goods and
services from behind the wheel.

 

Customer
trust in the security and privacy of stored payments is essential for
contextual commerce to succeed. The growing use of various kinds of e-wallets
and mobile payment systems is also helping to put consumers at ease.

 

The
back-end infrastructure to support a contextual commerce ecosystem is taking
shape. Tools and interfaces will be needed to easily connect a variety of
components, including: The merchant’s payment and order management systems
(including inventory, logistics and returns); the “context” in which the
customer is found; merchants will strike partnerships with complementary
businesses, content providers and others; and the customer’s stored payment and
shipping information, such as e-wallets

 

All
of these pieces will need to connect seamlessly so that the customer receives
the service they expect, while the payment transaction takes place out of
sight.

 

Coming
up with compelling ways to engage your customers through contextual commerce
will require you to do three things well:

 

Gain
a deeper understanding of your customers. How, when and why do they buy? Now is
the time to make investments in ramping up your data and analysis game.
Understand their behavior and what else is going on around their transaction
with you, and you may see opportunities for partnerships.

 

Respect
customer preferences. Not everyone wants to be presented with buying opportunities
everywhere they turn. Businesses will need to be thoughtful to avoid alienating
customers with overly intrusive offers, especially as predictive analytics seek
to anticipate consumers’ needs. Remember that what’s convenient to one person
may be creepy or annoying to another.

 

Be
alert to all contexts – virtual and real-world. Right now, a lot of focus is on
connecting on the virtual plane: Businesses are looking for opportunities to
sell within online content such as information, entertainment or gaming, as
well as within social experiences such as messaging and social networks.
Location-aware and augmented reality technologies will open more opportunities
for reaching customers in their real-world contexts as well.

 

It’s
an exciting time to be engaging in tech-fueled commerce. As the contextual
commerce revolution
begins to get
into full swing, make a plan to put your business in the game.

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