Contextual Commerce: It’s All About the Triggers
I’ll be the first to say it out loud: The App Store is becoming more and more irrelevant. Research shows that most people simply aren’t downloading apps to their smartphones. Combine the fact that over 1,000 apps are being published every single day on the iOS App Store together with consumers’ extremely limited attention spans, and the result is self-standing native mobile apps are becoming less and less of a viable business — especially in the retail space.
The reason for that is pretty simple: context.
Brands are realizing that users aren’t going to engage nearly as often with them unless they're within context of what they're doing already.
The NFL and Twitter recently announced a partnership to stream "Thursday Night Football" games within the social network. Why? Here's what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to say: “Twitter is where live events unfold. There's a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games.”
The NFL recognized that there are more fans on Twitter talking football during "Thursday Night Football" games than there are watching the game on TV. So the NFL is bringing games to them — context.
The Facebook “Buy" button. The Facebook Messenger “Payment” button. The Pinterest “Buy” button. The “Order Uber” functionality in Microsoft Calendar. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to order office supplies directly from Staples on the Slack app store.
Commerce is coming to users instead of users coming to it. Why? Because a consumer taking action requires a trigger — i.e., a reason to act. When a user is offered a service within the context of that trigger, then it becomes a seamless and natural experience. Scheduling a meeting in your calendar? Order an Uber. Reading a recipe online? Add the ingredients to your shopping list and purchase them with a single click.
The same is true for gifting. One instance is Pinterest, where a consumer discovers something that her friend shared and might like to have, so it triggers that user to buy the item for her friend as a gift.
The No. 1 trigger for gift giving has always been an invitation to an event. After RSVP-ing to an event, the most natural next step is to send a thoughtful gift. Invited to a baby shower? Send a gift!
Contextual marketing will be key in the future of online commerce. It’s becoming harder and harder to convince users to stop what they're doing, go to another platform and make a purchase. Retail needs to make the shift towards being within that context. Retailers shouldn't be fighting to get consumers’ attention by forcing them to come directly to their websites.
As users spend more and more time on fewer — but very specific — platforms, the question becomes how we make commerce a part of their natural online journey.
Shaul Weisband is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Jifiti, a gift registry software solution and gift registry apps for brands.