Immo at Banking Horizon: Contextual services in digital environment [Speaker notes]

By Immo Salonen, on 14 September, 2020

A summary of a presentation held together with Danske Bank at Banking Horizon 2016 event on 18th of October 2016 in London. The presentation was about how online retailers can utilise partnerships and provide consumers with all the relevant services throughout the partner network. 


Have you ever wondered why fruits and vegetables are the first things you see when you enter a grocery store? I mean it makes no sense! Putting those in your shopping trolley first, means that they are most likely to get squashed by the time you get to the checkout. The most logical place for them would be the last thing right before the checkout.

The reason is timing. When you buy vegetables first you feel that you’ve done something healthy, something good. That is why when you get to the cookie aisle you are more likely to allow yourself to buy a box of cookies too because you already made the healthy decision. You’ve earned the box of cookies. 

This is an ages old trick in the grocery business and it’s based on a very simple idea: In order to sell you cookies later, we first need to sell you vegetables.  

In the world of consumer finance, timing is just as important. The consumer is never interested in the financing itself. They are interested in the product they want to finance. Financing is only a tool to receive that product.

Therefore first we need to understand how their buying process actually works.


Let’s take an example of an online store where a great amount of shoppers who were already moving towards the checkout often change their mind and decide not to complete the purchase. You can imagine the frustration of the online retailers, because that visitor already pictured himself buying the product, but ultimately didn’t.

We call them dreamers. Banks have the tools to make those dreams come true for many of them, but their timing to provide the service is often wrong.

In most cases, financing options can be found and the of the checkout funnel and are therefore relevant only to those who have already made the decision to buy something or in banners that actually send the visitor away from the product he is dreaming of.

This means that online retailer loses all potential buyers who were dreaming of the product but were but who expected it to be out of their reach. By recognising visitor’s needs in real time both the service and the product could be sold. 

Therefore, when in a grocery store we first need to sell the vegetables in order to sell cookies later,  in e-commerce we sometimes need to provide the dreaming consumer with credit that allows him to buy the product later. 

By using predictive analytics and machine learning businesses can identify the digital window shoppers whose decision can be influenced and also find the right time to do so. 

Contextual service 


We call this contextual service - you recognise consumers situation and offer related service. This service may be provided by a product expert from the cell phone company when the visitor needs product specific information in an electronics store or by insurance agent when comparing cars online or by credit  advisor when you are dreaming of buying your first apartment, to mention but a few.

Algorithms compare behaviour each visitors behaviour to every shopper who has been on the site before and completed the purchase on their own or after receiving certain related service. If buying after receiving service is the most probable case, that service will be brought to that visitor's context.

By doing this we create a win-win-win situation.

When you provide the right service to the consumer at the right time, you can affect his behaviour and give the push needed to complete the purchase. Partner gets to sell their service and at the same time the conversion of the host site is increased. On top of all that the customer experience is improved because the consumer gets services relevant to him at the right time and right place.

Stop dragging consumers into your processes. Become relevant in their context!


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Topics: Personalisation, Financial services