Contextual commerce is the “next big thing” in payments as innovators create ways for consumers to scratch their buying itch — the moment they feel it. Murali Subbarao, CEO and Founder of XpressBuy, tells MPD CEO Karen Webster how they are taking buy buttons to a whole new level by commerce-enabling mobile and online ads. Can this transform both retail and the ad business in one fell swoop?
“What we realized is when a user sees a product it’s really a micro moment, where they may want to just know something about the product, such as see a quick review of it or see images, or they may want to find out if it’s available at a local store. Buying is not necessarily the only thing they want to do,” Subbarao explained.
In a time when research shows the American consumer has shorter attention span than that of a goldfish (10 seconds), Subbarao said consumers must be offered more than just an option to buy in order to spur engagement.
By capitalizing on that “goldfish moment,” which is where XpressBuy has found its niche.
XpressBuy’s commerce platform allows marketers to power buy buttons that aim to create distinct product experiences. What makes XpressBuy a bit unique is the “call to commerce” that they enable inside a more traditional marketing channel like an ad. Instead of a button that clicks through to a brand’s website, XpressBuy powers a buy button that enables a transaction to happen without having the consumer leave the page they are on when the ad is presented.
Through recent partnerships with various global eCommerce platforms, such as Demandware and IBM WebSphere Commerce, XpressBuy is available to power those calls to commerce for nearly 30 percent of Top 500 retailers.
By connecting with the core API systems of retailers, the XpressBuy commerce platform works with retailers and marketers to customize the information provided to consumers to build a more memorable product experience.
XpressBuy aims to show that supplementing the buy button with meaningful information to the consumer while they are “in the moment” can result in increased conversion rates for retailers. In fact, according to the company, conversion rates using the platform are notably higher than what would be seen using other marketing and conversion efforts.
Subbarao found that six times more transactions per retailer were taking place within an hour for in-the-moment conversions using XpressBuy, compared to conversions requiring consumers to go to a retailer’s website.
“It’s about creating an experience around the product, which now includes buying to create a much richer engagement,” Subbaro responded.
Then there’s, of course, the data. XpressBuy can also help marketers better serve their retail partners by utilizing XpressBuy’s data and analytics to make more accurate decisions about where advertising efforts should be focused.
The XpressBuy platform is able to track and show detailed conversion information, such as the devices consumers are using, which reference sites brought them to a page and even their geolocation. Subbarao said data is also gathered across the entire collection of a retailer’s products, allowing marketers to see which products are performing best and on what channels. This insight can help to make decisions about when to modify or replace products that may not be performing well in certain places.
This level of detail can be valuable in fine-turning marketing programs to track the true conversion rates taking place, which, as Subbarao points out, is “where the payments comes in.”
XpressBuy has its sights set on making big moves within the payments ecosystem to close that loop with a yet to be made public integration into 100 million mobile wallets. Subbarao confirmed XpressBuy is working with a payments company to not only tap into wallets, but also processing capabilities. This would position that particular player to extend its reach to the customer much earlier on and have a “unique placement” as the payment of choice.
XpressBuy also aims to facilitate a more automated process for creating rich product experiences for various product combinations and collection in the future based on its own real-time analytics.
“Today’s approach is either manual, marketers assemble things one by one by putting together the graphics and messages, or it’s programmatic, where they take they stock information and it’s pretty bland in terms of how the retargeting business works. We want to make it much richer and much more dynamic.”