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The phrase “content is king” is widely believed to have been coined by Bill Gates. That may well be the case, but if so, who is King Content’s queen?

That’s simple. If content is the king, then context is the queen.

But let’s take a step back. If we talk about commerce, the first thing to realize is that “content” isn’t just the product or the components of a page when we’re talking about an app. Each product and each component is built using words, sentences, phrases, images, videos, icons, info-graphics, data, calculators, wizards, and so on, and even consumer and user-created content, such as reviews and comments.

Neither the content nor the relationships between the content remain static. The meaning, clarity and comprehensibility of the content for the individual consumer and customer is also subject to change.

If I had to put the main reasons for why context matters and why context is queen into words, I would firstly stress the relationship created between the vendor, brand etc., and the consumers and buyers. Secondly, the relationship created between the consumers and the product is all too often influenced by the moment, the situation, and the time.

Regardless of whether the company is providing a simple product, or a complex and highly priced product or service, context is a practical element: the duck-tape and W15, or in other words the glue and lubrication that will help you build meaning, trust, and interest for the customer.

Context is information in relation to the consumer and user

Context creates meaning by providing precise and useful information which fits the user’s interest, knowledge and understanding: Information that can bring the customer forward, closer to buying, or facilitating his or her understanding.

Merchandizing beyond the store’s counter, display, or shop window

A good e-commerce store should move beyond the surface. For instance, we are seeing some companies encouraging people to follow them on Instagram or Facebook after navigating away from the storefront or getting the customer’s permission and agreement to follow what they do on social media channels. Perhaps a product can become viral and generate more sales. Shopping experiences shouldn’t end at the local store or the online store. Integrating Pinterest, Facebook and other social media touchpoints and trends used by your customers means that consumers can pin their favorite products, exposing the brand beyond the point of sale. It is all about giving customers, and in the best case also influencers, the opportunity to tell their friends and followers about an awesome product they came across. Let your customers share their love for your brand and products.

In the near future, e-commerce vendors and brands must become more than just product inventories where consumers go to search and buy, to becoming realms of discovery, enjoying themselves and experiencing the joy of buying.

Contextual commerce companies must understand how context shapes experience.

The things you will have to pay special attention to in order to realize your future commerce goals include:

  • Mobile and omnipresent availability.

  • The opportunities in digital and physical shopping.

  • The usage of available data.

  • When and where someone bought something, and where and when they did not (“we learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” ― Samuel Smiles).

… and check out which tools are available to deliver the experiences and technologies companies desire. SAP provides all you need to:

  • Develop a 360-degree view of each and every customer for a better understanding and improved targeting for marketing campaigns.

  • Gather customer data from multiple sources into one platform, essentially merging online and offline activities to uncover the total addressable market.

What is needed today and will be needed much more of in the future, is the combination of online and offline data collection to create a non-siloed, single customer view for highly personalized touchpoints, marketing campaigns, and vendor-consumer communication and commerce.

You must understand how context shapes the digital and brick-and-mortar commerce experience.

Future commerce will include and deal with the importance of digital shopping and shopping in the real world. You can make good use of all data pieces and context, tools available to deliver desired experiences, and technology investment such as API platforms etc. – all of which are available from and with SAP.

Below are some links to learn more about the SAP Commerce Cloud: