E-commerce has revolutionised the retail experience by enabling individuals to purchase goods and services from the comfort of their homes with a simple click. "Contextual commerce", the next frontier for retail experience enhancement, takes the convenience and spontaneity of one-click purchasing even further by providing a platform through which to make those purchases the instant you see something you want to buy, be it a product appearing on your favourite TV show or advertised on a billboard as you're walking around town, or perhaps even a piece of clothing being worn by someone you pass on the street. Contextual commerce is the concept behind the buy buttons that we have started to see on social platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Whereas e-commerce requires an individual to visit the website or web application of a retailer in order to make a purchase, contextual commerce seeks to leverage the "right here, right now" mentality. Contextual commerce capitalises on the purchasing "pull" of the "consumer moment" – the moment when a consumer sees something and thinks "I want that" – by using technology to integrate purchasing opportunities seamlessly into the consumer's everyday activities and surroundings.
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© Herbert Smith Freehills 2020