Changing Consumer Behaviour - The Moment of Truth

Impulse buying makes us feel good.

We justify our purchases by telling ourselves “I deserve this”, “It was on sale” or “It is almost my birthdays, it’s only 5 months away”.

The exhilaration of acquiring something we didn’t anticipate can quickly send us soaring, and then just as quickly can cause us to come crashing down.

The crash is triggered by the inevitable question; “Did I make the right purchase decision? This question will eventually surface for all purchase transactions, even in everyday situations such as ordering breakfast (food regret is a real thing).

Woman shopping on phone

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to avoiding the ‘consumer crash’, as they are more informed prior to making a purchase, even if it is impulsive.

Since the introduction of mobile devices, social media, online reviews and comparison websites, our ability to make informed decision regarding potential product purchases has increased exponentially. Consumers no longer rely on the good-will and integrity of one sales person or brand, but now draw upon the integrity and recommendations of their entire network and even extend their research into third party communities. Even when it comes to making an impulse purchase, consumers will often turn to their devices for validation by quickly scanning reviews and comparison sites.

Previously, consumers would go through a much simpler and trusting three-phase process before making a purchase.

  • The first stage is known as stimulation, where a consumer would see an advertisement for a product or service, see a product being displayed in store or online.
  • The second phase is known as the “First moment of truth” (FMOT), where a consumer makes an approach and does preliminary research, such as viewing the product instore, talking to a sales assistant or viewing a product demonstration
  • The third phase is know as the “Second Moment of truth (SMOT), which is the reality of their purchase and their assessment of their satisfaction and the products value.

Technology has completely revolutionised this chronological decision making and purchase process by creating the “Zero moment of truth” (ZMOT). The “Zero moment of truth” is an expression Google uses to describe the change that has occurred due to technological advancements, in regards to consumer behaviour during their path to purchase. With a wealth of information available at their fingertips, consumers are more interested in how products, services or companies can enhance their lives. They ask themselves “what are the real benefits for me?”

To ensure their product of choice enhances their lives, consumers gather a large volume of information from a range of sources prior to their first instore interaction. Since, consumers are significantly more knowledgeable about the product they are purchasing they tend to share their findings with others in their networks or on third party websites, this results in accelerated word of mouth marketing.

For a business, this can be both terrific and terrifying, depending on how your product or service is perceived. Due to the many touchpoints offering reviews, recommendations and product ratings, a few less than desirable reviews are unlikely to affect your product or brand perception. However, as many potential consumers leverage previous reviews as a source of research, a few bad reviews could snowball creating negative first impression on potential consumers. This could ultimately contribute to sway a user to go with another brand, whose products have similar attributes. Equally, positive reviews could create a strong first impression and ultimately convert potential consumers.

As a business owner, it is extremely important to know the best way to position yourself for the “Zero moment of truth”, by implement strategies that leverage micro moments and promote positive consumer reviews. Instead of giving you a brief overview of these strategies, we want to invite you to come visit us at our Brisbane office for an exclusive Google Partners Event, where you can talk to us face to face and hear from Google experts directly. Click here to register for our free Google Event!

Jacek Sophie Tighe

About the author:
Sophie is our resident marketing coordinator and design intern, who has a passion for all things digital. Aside from working at Klyp, she's also currently completing her Master's Degree in creative advertising at the Queensland University of Technology.