Posts Tagged Consumer Behavior

Decoding Google’s Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT) to eCommerce Sustainability & Continuous Engagement

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/

You could reach me on adarsh.pete@gmail.com or connect me on Linkedin

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Viral Demand Gen Engine

Couple of years of back nobody could have even thought how Web 2.0 would sweep through everyone’s life, to become the Numero-Uno. There are appealing statistics which comprehend the fact of visit an individual would make during a day, which reinstate the position.

The rate at which this methodology has precipitated into the ecosystem is quite commendable and what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg, where the way players are exploring, beneficiaries experimenting and end users relishing the engagement are just the right things at the right place. When we look at the players today they use Create, innovate and embed as their drivers for exploration.

Networking is never been so intrinsic, where engagement being more extrinsic it leads to roots which go on to develop applications, widgets, feedback mechanism, share, likes, streams, +1 and status updates. Social Media today has become the face for their respective brands, more importantly the interactive one, which no doubt comforts the consumer and also benefits by providing the right kind of feedbacks, inputs and updates leading towards service / product optimization & in some cases a new product idea. As we all know Dell has been heavily working on the social media tactic  to use thousand and odd status update to shortlist few best ideas, which finally go to make some of the successful Dell products.

Never the less, Web 2.0 is been a true revolutionary for marketers and the best to happen for any Brand, in terms of adding a face, connecting with prospects and consumer but on other hand it poses challenges on engaging with the fans (prospects & Consumers), extent of insights and last but not the least, the most dreaded of all the issues, handling demanding, unsatisfied consumers who could derail the engagement with negative updates and comments. Among the reputed brands there are some which use the later as a model to resolve problems of the customers and also channel for service & support.

If I would have to think, how Web 2.0 would be in the coming days,  it could be like the hosted services of the leading enterprise products, where every individual has their own page which has all their information on an application which would give insights on their skill up gradation, finances, Career and so on. In fact there are android applications which are getting developed to control house hold appliances through the mobile, which could be synced to it. Thereby making the social networking site the most used and depended site.

Social Media today is an evolving strategy towards engaging customers, virtual product visualization and the most important where every brand would like to use such an optimized, targeted, measurable, seamless methodology to run a viral demand gen engine, which helps them to generate a fully matured lead which has been influenced, informed and  endorsed.

The Viral Demand Gen Engine works on an integrated model of Engagement and Virtual Product Visualization engine, powering the viral through engaging fans (prospects & consumers) either in view of product conceptualization, optimization, improvisation, development or even to the extent of sampling & testing. The model gets more appreciated when these insights are used to reach the targeted audience through blog sphere and for deeper pockets, micro blogging (in the form of mobile apps eg twitter). The strength here is it could be in terms of consumer endorsements, which is powerful than any other media, which is one of the KPI in all the reputed companies. Or the combination of different web application, widgets and blogging to create a good appealing visualization. Exhibit 1 Below demonstrates the Viral demand Gen Engine.

Exhibit 1- Demand Gen Engine

WATCH THIS BLOG FOR MORE TO COME ON ENGAGEMENT ENGINE, FOLLOWED WITH VIRTUAL PRODUCT VISUALIZATION ENGINE AND UPDATES

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Battle Of Differentiation Among The Social Networking Platforms

Web 2.0 saw revolution which went on to change the political scenario, babies named after the giant ‘Facebook’ and to top it, marketers found answer to their long lasting query on ROI. They have changed the way people used to reach their prospects and more over countering business opportunity. Life is been more focused and even smaller, the phrase ‘world is small’ has more meaning to it now than before.

The closer analogy to social networking is of the iPhone ad which states “if you don’t have an iPhone you don’t have the apps….. and if you don’t have a iPhone, well  you don’t have a iPhone”, which is (when applied to social networking) if you are not in one of the social networking sites, you are missing on the networking and to top it, today even recruiters have jumped into it, of course now it makes more sense to be in, then losing something.

Social networking today could be categorized into Business, Casual and Micro-blogging. We have seen good number of players moving into the space and making it big, and many of these are the pioneers, who have traced the path and been the part of the revolution, who are the leaders and category by itself. Competition now is becoming intense among the category leaders, and some renowned biggies who have tried and backed off are consistently trying to get in, to still carve a pie for themselves. The advantage with these biggies are, their application stack and  power of innovation, which makes them prospective leaders only if, they crack  the platform.

The battle lines are drawn and the success would be based on differentiation; which would be user interface, platforms, applications and engagement model. The leader would now have to be constantly on the drawing board and working on the differentiator model, as they would have to keep pace with new applications & concepts being developed using the existing model by the partners, in parallel ensuring the constant revenue streams from the existing model. The challenge now is on retaining the users and withstanding the migrations to newer platforms, which could be mouth watering.

The question which haunts every category leader, in different verticals, to answer on the differentiation, today  hangs on to Social Networking Platform, as it is a successful model and others would definitely follow to cash in.The key here would be to stick  on to User Engagement and Redefining Evangelism,  which would mean drilling down to the levels of analyzing the database and bringing in the right kind of interface and application which could glue the user tightly to the platform, to the extent where the user feels incomplete without it. Like how the customer centricity brought the Social Networking into their business, today the same paradigm needs to be imbibing into their platform.

The essence lies on Social Networking Site being the one stop shop for a user, apart from just networking and being in touch. We have seen the progressions here too in terms of; communities, forums, skills, News, creating groups, pages and so on. This would have to move in a step into associating with user’s individual planning, which he/she would associate to and use it as bench marking himself/herself for his/her development which could be either career, skill sets, evaluating options, consumption patterns, financials and so on.

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Gaming,the Biggest Social Engagement Model, could be the Lab for Consumer Behavior

Have you ever seen the social gamer playing through the farm ville, god! That is more than an addiction which I have been through. You scratch your head and heart if you are not able to harvest at the right time, strategize the crops which yield more level scores and the most awesome thing, use a calculator to find out the profit margin out of every harvest. The best out of the entire activity is we are captive, focused and more over show a behavioral trend, which could be related or grouped to categorical insight, which means, without my knowledge, but based on my impulse and reaction during the involvement. What do you think this could lead to; Consumer Gaming Intelligence.

Let’s counter the statistics 1,739,025, followers on the Facebook for Zynga alone, which also is a game changer in the social gaming experience. Any methodology parameter we bring in for the evaluation, they stand at par, engagement model, user experience, tactics and more over the consistency, which keeps the eyeball and the grey matter glued, tingling the stimuli to visit the site more than just once. May be for more statistic we could ask Zynga, including this in this section, would be more of a marketing pitch than trying to drive a point. The insights coming out through the game would be a good inference to a Consumer Gaming intelligence, which is waiting for us to study Consumer Behavior.

Gaming Behavioral Laboratory– Let’s see how we could adopt, when put more science into the technique, gaming studio could be developed which acts as a behavioral lab to draw inferences which are corollary of the shopper behavior. What would make a difference to boast the precision is introducing strategic scenarios, like the real life shopping environment which would allow the excitement among the players and keep the momentum up through their visits and post visits. These scenarios help to gather the behavioral trends in the consumers. Their logic, could interpret decision inputs, expectations and wish list they have, more over how they react in a scenario could give a good input for the strategy formulation.

I don’t say this answer the questions, could we predict consumer behavior, but we could start drawing parallels, which could help us in drawing the behavioral trends. This would bring in more science and to top of all, gaming is the best engagement model in the social media, apart from the done to death contest.

Engagement model Every marketing subject matter expert tests his grey matter to the fullest when it comes to engagement consistency, which is still a Pandora’s Box waiting to be unearthed. There is no science which suggests this should be the tactic for engagement and substantiate through web analytics, which shows spike and plateau. But gaming is one of the applications which increase the visitor frequency on to the site, the beauty is, on the spirit of the game and its level, networks you to people who have one thing common that is gaming. Isn’t that interest for you and your brand to make it a purely global phenomenon, through the social media.

Just having a page or a group wouldn’t make a difference, in your Social Media Strategy, translating your position statement through related applications and games would spike your engagement, and more so we would be able to crack what is called “Consumer Gaming Intelligence”, so what are you waiting for…

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