The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is a phenomenon that was introduced by Google — it refers to an online decision-making moment when a consumer researches a product, often before they even know that a particular solution, seller, or answer to their need exists.
If you’ve never heard of it, don’t panic! In this article, we’ll define the ZMOT, explain how it impacts the consumer journey, and explain how online reviews can help you win it.
Google defines The Zero Moment of Truth as the moment when a consumer has a need, intent or question that he or she would like to address through an online search. This can be anything from “Which travel insurance has the best reputation?” to “Bank with best customer service”.
Companies that are able to answer these questions and provide as much information as possible early in the journey have a great competitive advantage.
That’s why today, it’s become essential for brands to understand how important this moment is in the buying journey, and learn how to optimise the user experience in order to grow their online presence and get better business results in the long run.
Interested in learning how to win the Zero Moment of Truth? Keep reading.
Why you should care about the Zero Moment of Truth
In today’s competitive market, making a decision can quickly become overwhelming, especially when a lot of equivalent choices are available.
In 2019, consumers can research and compare businesses in just a couple of clicks, making it harder for brands to stand out. And as the competition keeps growing, the number of consumers researching products and services online prior to purchase keeps rising too.
Indeed, Google's initial research found that, on average, consumers were looking at 10.4 sources of information before purchasing from a company.
But today, this number has skyrocketed to an average of 22 sources, and 40 for longer buyer journeys like booking a trip away!
We’re all aware of it, the consumer journey has changed. What used to be the First Moment of Truth (consumers discovering a product on the shelf) has now extended and includes mostly digital shelf experiences. But the experience isn’t the same: consumers no longer get to see the product, and therefore need extra validation before purchasing.
So how can you make sure you’re providing as much information as you can before the First Moment of Truth? And how can you realistically turn the discovery phase of shopping in your favour and win the ZMOT for good?
How reviews can help you win the ZMOT
Today, 93% of consumers read reviews as part of their buying journey, and 80% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that 80% of all consumers will be looking for third-party validation when comparing different products or services.
If you're an online shopper yourself, you probably know how easy it's become to compare brands by price, product quality, service, shipping cost and customer experience when we shop online. Unfortunately, that only makes it harder for businesses to stand out, and therefore to retain and convert shoppers. And with consumers relying on third-party validation like never before, leveraging user-generated content, social proof, word of mouth and trust signals throughout the journey is a great way to stand out in the ZMOT.
Indeed, adding online reviews to the customer journey is a great way to provide additional information to confused shoppers. It also helps them form their own opinion based on other customers’ experiences, resulting in a much more educated purchasing decision.
Most of the time, the ZMOT happens online, on search engines, or on social channels such as Facebook or Instagram. By showcasing you customers’ feedback at every touch point of the journey (with Google Seller Ratings, Review Snippets, on-site or on social media), you’re delivering a consistent experience, providing users with the information they’re looking for, and building trust earlier in the funnel.
Here are 4 ways you can reach consumers at key touch points of the Zero Moment of Truth:
1. Start collecting feedback and leverage reviews on key pages
Did you know consumers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting when they interact with reviews and customer Q&A?
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2. Leverage reviews in search to boost your visibility
Which result would you choose - with or without reviews? Including customer feedback in search with Google Seller Ratings or Product Reviews Review Snippets can boost both trust and credibility.
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3. Encourage your customers to share great content
Recent research shows that user-generated content is considered to be 50% more trustworthy than traditional marketing, and 76% of individuals admit that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people rather than content shared by brands.
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4. Share your customers’ success stories
89% of marketers say that customer testimonials, success stories and case studies are one of the most effective forms of content for influencing purchases.
Zendesk has a page dedicated to success stories
It’s a fact, the buying journey has changed for good. Consumers research more before purchasing, and trust businesses less than they did 5 years ago.
To stand out from the competition in the Zero Moment of Truth, it’s essential to incorporate transparency and authenticity to the customer journey. The more information consumers can find about your brand, your product(s) or your service(s), the better.
Today’s brands should embrace the Zero Moment of Truth and double their marketing efforts in order to stay at the top. With reviews, businesses can optimise every touch point of the buying journey, and make sure consumers are exposed to trust signals and social proof when using search engines to compare brands.
If you’d like to find out more about Trustpilot and how reviews can help you win the Zero Moment of Truth, give our ‘Complete Guide to Reviews’ a read, and create a free Trustpilot profile, just in time for the busiest shopping season of the year.