The A-Z of Business (Starting with Z) ZMOT – Do businesses really not understand this?

The A-Z of Business (Starting with Z) ZMOT – Do businesses really not understand this?

It’s time for a rant.

Now, at Trinity U, we don’t normally do rants, but this is an important one, so buckle up.

As far as we can tell, so many small businesses out there, have no idea whatsoever about ZMOT, otherwise known as the ‘zero moment of truth…’

Never heard of it?

Well, you need a wakeup call then, because Google have been banging on about ZMOT for ten years now, and if you’ve not got to grips with it yet, you are limiting your chances of success.

It’s an A-Z of business like never before this, because we’re starting right at the letter Z. Or could it be that we’re missing out the first 25 letters altogether because we know how important this one is?

It doesn’t matter why we’re doing it this way; it just matters that you pay attention.

Traditionally, the first moment of truth referred to ‘the shelf’ where shoppers looked at products before deciding to buy them. The second moment of truth was after the purchase, and based on the experience of the product or service, which could then be shared with others.

The zero moment of truth (ZMOT) refers to the discovery and awareness stage in the buying cycle, when the consumer researches a product, without the seller even knowing that they’re looking.

Window shopping sort of, but in our online world.

They want something, you’re selling it, but they’ve not decided to buy from you just yet.

We’re talking about reviews, research and reflection on a whole heap of sources of information.

This ‘moment’ is critical to small businesses, because the consumer can go wherever they want to make the purchase.

Or can they?

Sort of, because they’ll go where they’re guided to go. They’ll go where their interest is stimulated. They’ll go where they’re attracted to go.

And this process of the consumer making a decision is what we call ZMOT, zero moment of truth.

As we’ve said, it involves reading reviews, speaking to their network, looking at buyer’s guides.

And guess what…if the reviews aren’t too clever, neither are the chances of the consumer buying from that particular place.

Businesses have to think about converting consumers into customers long before they even know they exist. It’s a competitive world out there…

In the past, consumers would’ve made their minds up about a product after they’d bought it (the second moment of truth), whereas now, the reviews and the information gained during the zero moment of truth, helps them make an informed decision on what to buy and where to buy it from.

You see, the bit that comes before ZMOT, the stimulus, most businesses are pretty good at.

Marketing and advertising products and services isn’t easy, but a lot of businesses manage to tout their wares in a stylish and appealing fashion.

Think JML, as annoying as their videos are, they really make you think about the things you never knew you needed.

But the ZMOT, the bit that comes between the stimulus and the decision to buy, not every business even understands this, let alone manages to take control of it.

Google have conducted countless studies on ZMOT, looking at things like heart maps to identify how consumers behave once they’ve been stimulated to something they might want to spend their money on.

Here’s their recommendations for ‘winning’ ZMOT.

Things to think about.

Firstly, every single ZMOT consumer is totally unique. Shoppers are ‘unpredictable’, and whereas in the past their route to sale was easy to map, they now have their own ‘flight plan’ en route to making a purchase.

They have plenty more buying options now as well, innumerable options in fact!

What this means is that businesses have to be ready to meet shoppers in their way, at their time.

Online chat and support could be an answer. Longer hours available for consumers to call you. If you need to outsource that, you need to outsource it.

Secondly, if shoppers can ‘price check’ whilst their out and about in the real world, using their phones to see if they can get a better deal elsewhere, imagine what they can do when shopping online.

They can compare everything in seconds, from prices to deals to reviews. Think about how you can be the best option to buy from, and that doesn’t necessarily mean being the cheapest.

They also talk about shopping cart abandonment, and the fact that as many as 7 out of every 10 shoppers add items to online carts without actually making a purchase.

Did they change their minds? No, they found a better deal elsewhere.

If you’re not thinking about ZMOT, no matter what business you’re in, more than half of your potential customers are ‘’filling their carts’ and walking away to find the exact same thing elsewhere.

In this big, bad zero moment of truth world, we also need to remember that even though our stimuli have an impact, the consumer is in full control, and every single lead is initiated by them, not the business they go on to buy from.

Those are Google’s points to consider then, wrapped up in a Trinity U rant (albeit a rare one…)

The question now is, what are you going to do about it?

As you read this (or listen to it) you could be losing potential sales because of a total lack of awareness about the zero moment of truth.

It could be time to chase up some reviews from past customers.

It could be time to do some market research.

It could be time to pose as your own version of a ‘mystery shopper’ and go through the process of ZMOT yourself, in your potential customer’s shoes.

Scratch that actually, because we said ‘it could’ be time to do all of that.

What we actually meant was, it is time to do all that, right now.

This is your zero moment of truth.

Go and use it wisely!