Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shopping in the Digital Age and ZMOT

Smart devices and their allies are heralding a wave of changes in shopping by allowing the potential buyers to understand the brand or product thoroughly before stepping into a store (brick and mortar or online). Traditionally, a consumer would stroll into a store, experience the product first-hand or based on the recommendations of the salesperson and purchase the product. Today, this trend is preceded by an extensive online research that may include reading articles, user reviews or blogs and much more. This trend of the conscious and savvy consumer engaging in pre-shopping has been termed as the Zero Moment of Truth or the ZMOT, by Google.Let us understand the concept of ZMOT and contemplate its importance for businesses, as it has been proven to serve as an important ROI metric. The traditional marketing approach has been categorized under three phases, namely:- The stimulus (An advertising of any form)
- First moment of truth (When the buyer actually makes a decision to purchase the product)
- Second moment of truth (The actual customer experience of the product)Introduce a phase between the stimulus and the First moment of truth, where a consumer grabs the laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and starts learning about a product/ service he/she is thinking about trying/ buying, and that is exactly what Zero moment of truth turns out to be.This automatically leads to the question- 'How can businesses succeed with ZMOT?'Consumers today are fickle and highly demanding. With this changing behavior in shopping, consumers no longer feel the need to remain loyal to a brand and switch to others quickly if their needs are not satiated by one brand. As a result, businesses cannot afford to ignore consumers and least of all leave them dissatisfied.

We have identified four areas that businesses need to work on to ensure a satisfied and loyal consumer:Understanding the buyer - To understand a consumer's needs and research preferences, businesses need to track and analyze huge volumes of data. This can be achieved by anchoring targeted campaigns that can be measured. With customer predictive analytics coming handy, an encyclopaedia of customer shopping behavior and buying patterns can be traced.Keeping your content relevant - Content is the king of ZMOT. It has to be easily available across all forms of media of communication. This information should be available to not only customers but also for the companies, enabling them to develop relevant offerings. It not only has to be relevant but it also has to be available at the right time.Search as an important tool - At the heart of ZMOT, lies the search feature and plays an important role by leading the customer to the right information. To do this effectively, businesses must produce relevant page titles, adding related keywords and Meta tags to their website.Follow a multi-device approach - businesses should be able to deliver the same shopping experience in store and across other channels. Under such demanding conditions, businesses have no choice but to cater to the needs of consumers and provide customized options as much as possible. Only such a mindset can convert curious shoppers into buyers.

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