Let’s slice E-commerce, an online store or retail which enables shoppers to be where they are and by using the power spell WWW.ABCD.COM , they could have products and services of their choice underneath their eyeballs, ready for the consumption, although not immediate but gradual. On the flip side, the biggest challenge which e-commerce faces today is the perception, in terms of acceptance on feeling the product to virtually seeing and ordering.
Though, the internet penetration have been fairly a primary deterrent for the success of e-commerce across the geographies where they have not gained prominence, but with advent of 3G services, e-commerce is slowly seeing it’s acceptance, but where it still sees it’s roadblock is on the perceptions. Perception is all in the minds, generally through one’s experience or word of mouth. These are those strong impulses, which could drive a shopper for immediate consumption which is a gradual one or not. To top it, shoppers love to feel the product, look at it, have a face to converse & bargain and shoulder on in case of bad experience or clarification. Last but not the least to pick freshest one in the rack, which in case of e-commerce is just the virtual and the thought keeps lingering, ‘hope I have got the freshest piece’. Perception generally relies on the positioning strategy or the business model of the e-commerce led marketer.
What goes beyond perception is sustainability, how to have the shoppers think about us in their buying decision process is a challenge and being where consumers are interacting & engaged is innovativeness. Usually, when marketers are working on these thoughts, the first approach is to be in there on the informative sites, social media, branded merchandise and prime sponsorships to grab as many eyeball as possible, as the low hanging fruits in their checklist, this gives them the much-needed spikes but could this be sustained for a long run in front of the giants, who have been in the industry for ages & have built-in fats which could sustain by shedding in terms of big bang activity. The answer would be “no”.
The answer lies in theory of Moment of Truths, what once Proctor & Gamble defined First Moment of truth, as one of the science of shopping, which concentrated on the display of products in the store, then came Second Moment of Truth which was on the consumption of the product. These two truths are more or less very well followed by the marketers across the brands in positioning and displaying. What is now coming in might with the adaptation of new mobile devices, which are changing the consumer line of thought, buying behavior and a trend which is far emerging in terms of product knowledge among the shopper even before he decides on the products.
The shoppers today are far well versed with knowledge on what they want to buy, where they want to buy, what is the best deal available while they are in the process of buying a product. Google defines this as Zero Moment of Truth, ZMOT. In the words of Jim Lecinski, Managing director, U.S. Sales & Service, Google, It’s a new decision-making moment that takes place a hundred million times a day on mobile phones, laptops and wired devices of all kinds. It’s a moment where marketing happens, where information happens, and where consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of nearly every brand in the world. At Google, we call this the Zero Moment Of Truth, or simply ZMOT
The Zero Moment Of Truth, is a paradigm which focuses on the buying decision process, this is when shopper is deciding on the product, in parallel, checking where & how to buy (which is what format to go with), and if you are not here you have lost an opportunity. Lets’ try to dig into the science and understand what ZMOT has in store while buying decision process is happening, both online and offline, for e-commerce, which could work towards getting shoppers.
When we look at the buying behavior of a shopper after having a desire to buy a product, he has different ways today to gather more information, either he gets on to his mobile device like Laptop, iPad, smart phone or get on to stand alone PC, hit the search button, the best in today’s world what people say is ‘Google’. Your favorite search engine is able to throw loads of information from the product details, availability, location, feedback to reviews; they are so intrinsic that no brand can actually neglect any of these details, if they want to win their shoppers’ heart. So in the case e-commerce, not only the site would have to be optimized to the search engine but it would have to be calibrated for various devices from the smart phones to other smart devices, making it friendly for the shopper to view the information. The last thing you would want is the opportunity loss for unfriendliness in viewing the product.
Being in the minds of the shoppers, would mean 6th sense of your product prospect, what I mean is understanding the key word definition used or related phrase from the ad copy to the attributes of the product, being reflected in your site so as to bring you there when the prospect, enters queries in your ‘Google’ world. There are shoppers who would have the desire to buy, but wouldn’t be remembering the product, they would either vaguely remember the attributes or message from ads and would have entered the query, if you would have reflected in top 5, that is an opportunity win.
ZMOT for e-commerce, just doesn’t mean the ad words, it could also mean understanding your footprint’s queries either in terms of review, feedbacks, comparison, product details, Q&A, ratings & so on, which could act as a differentiation and comes out while the query have been run on Google, by the prospects. What you have done using ZMOT analysis is you have not only made your e-commerce site more shopper friendly but also search engine too, apart from the SEO tools.
The other way to look at ZMOT strategy, is to understand the Socio-economic environment of the products you are selling, to capitalize on queries regarding the event which wouldn’t have been related directly to your product on the site, but subtly conveys the message what you are trying to sell. Let me give you an example, the people leaving in India are seeing a big movement on Jan Lokpal Bill, an anti corruption movement, by the Social Activist Anna Hazare, during the movement there were lot of silent protest which were happening with people printing posters, messages on T-shirts & caps and so on, if any agency wanted to capitalize on them, they could have had customized the offerings as per the movement to be in the search results which would have had the query on the movement.
Zero Moment Of Truth is just not online, this principle could be used on Offline too, and being where your shoppers are is the secret for sustainability of unique & continuous engagement with your users. Using the online strength, an e-commerce Marketer could either device a mobile application on any of the widely used platform, enabling the smart device user to evaluate his product of the choice through it. The other way of being in smarter devices would be through the service provider; this would enhance the opportunity prospects for the marketer. These work as a double-edged sword, on one hand the application icon sits on to the shoppers smart device home page, increasing your chances for continuous engagement, as he could evaluate deals, which could look lucrative for him while he is on the store or on information gathering phase and on other hand the recall is made significantly.
This application need not be just restricted to mobile devices but could be made an add-on to the social networking platforms, enabling the users to view their queries, share, engage with their network and compare brands, making it even more lucrative. The application strategy would be incomplete, without social networking, looking at the prominence which it has in our daily lives; these systems would also encourage fans on their pages. These moves help to play on perception and move the users slowly to the e-commerce platform and increase confidence on it
To Know more on Zero Moment Of Truth, click http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/
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