In a digital world, consumers can acquire enough information about a product or service on a smartphone or online to make a purchase decision without ever asking a question of a customer service representative or walking into a physical store (branch). Whether a consumer wants to buy a protein bar or new automobile, they can now leverage digital channels at each step of the customer decision journey, bypassing the traditional step-by-step sales funnel behavior.
Instead, today’s consumer has a decision process that includes many more variables and is much more iterative in nature. Shoppers not only include more competitors in their decision process, but will also jump between stages of the purchase journey almost instantaneously, thanks to the power of the internet.
The result is a concept called the Zero Moment of Truth, coined by Google in 2011. ZMOT describes how digital channels, such as social media and search, have accelerated the customer decision journey. In other words, what once took multiple hours, days or weeks now takes only minutes or seconds. If the consumer is not convinced to buy immediately, they may be lost forever.
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