Key takeaways from Google’s ‘ZMOT Asia’ research study

Google recently released a 99-page research document titled “Winning The Zero Moment of Truth in Asia” authored by Jim Lecinski and Joanna Flint (press link), discussing how consumer behavior now in many cases includes a so-called ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) which is, simplified, the situation where a potential costumer first gets in contact with a brand online, searching or investigating either the brand itself or the underlying need of its products. This blog post will summarize my key takeouts from the document:

Notice: The study mainly uses data from Asian countries, but I consider many of the findings applicable to other regions as well.

Consumers generally search online before taking a purchase decision

No matter if the final conversion happens online or offline, most consumers have developed an ability to research online beforehand through search. Typical behavior across market sectors include the following patterns:

  • Searches for the lowest price of a given product
  • Searches for the best product in a given product category
  • Searches for reviews of a given product

The main takeaway from this is that there’s lots of search volume to capture around the above groups of questions, where it’s possible to both help the consumer and push products to them at the same time.

Consumers search heavily for coupon codes and discounts before buying

Something I’ve experienced working with several brands is that coupon codes are beginning to affect their businesses and conversion paths mainly in two ways:

  • “[business name] coupon code”, “[business name] voucher” and similar searches are very common and becoming more common
  • In the final stages of the checkout funnel of e-commerce websites, where the ‘enter coupon’ field is typically located, more and more visitors drop out or open a new tab and search for the above terms in search for further discounts

The main takeaway is that consumers are getting smarter and smarter in terms of maximizing their discounts online. One easy way to combat this is to start ranking for these terms yourself and be more transparent about current discounts. If you can’t give people XX% off, maybe at least you can give them a certain discount percentage if they place a larger order.

If I experienced this, I would most likely create a page where I offered a low double-digit discount if the shopper spends more than xx% more than the average basket size. Remember to calculate the delta of the effective discount amount against potential lower shipping costs and lower customer acquisition costs and it might just make sense.

There are clear patterns in who review products online and how they do it

I always thought that most reviews online, maybe especially for travel sites/hotels would be from the few people who had a really bad experience, but it seems that the opposite is actually the case:

The worldwide average for product reviews is a 4.3 out of 5.0, according to Brett Hurt of the American company Bazaarvoice, which provides customer conversation services to global companies like Estee Lauder and Adidas. In fact, he says, 80% of all reviews online are four to five stars.

This is very interesting for several reasons, but what really caught my attention is the following statement:

“We find that there’s a new version of the 80–20 rule: 80% of reviews on the site of a given retailer are written by the top 20% of their customers by lifetime value. We call them the super shoppers.”

Have you ever thought about this? Try going through your previous reviews and find these 20%; there’s a high chance that they might be worth your time and money in marketing or even personal outreach.

General conclusion of the “ZMOT” Study

Personally I’d never heard about the “ZMOT” term before reading this study, but the concept makes at lot of sense to me. Rather than focusing on proving your product’s quality by making your prospective customers go in the store and try them, you should focus on answering the questions they ask. This is the future of search engine optimization no matter what – making brands become the personal assistants of their target audience.

Read the full study here: Google

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