“Just how important is ZMOT in driving decisions? Google asked Shopper Sciences to do a comprehensive study of 5,000 shoppers across 12 categories, from groceries to cars to financial products. The goal: show where influence takes place as shoppers move from undecided to decided.
The data revealed that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010.2 Yes, that number nearly doubled in one year — which shows you just how tough it is for marketers to grab the attention of consumers today. Shoppers are swimming in information. Those 10.4 sources range from TV commercials and magazine articles, to recommendations from friends and family, to websites, ratings and blogs online.”
Placing this in context with product overload, it makes sense why shoppers are making so many searches. They’re not finding the validation they need and want on a product page, so they are turning to reviews, forums, blogs, videos, etc, in an attempt to validate their decision. And it’s affecting their purchasing.
“In our study, 84% of the shoppers said that ZMOT shapes their decisions. It’s now just as important as stimulus and FMOT in moving consumers from undecided to decided.”
The information found during the ZMOT plays one of the biggest roles in consumer purchase decisions, and they are far more likely to purchase when and where they find this trustworthy information. If it’s not on your site, you’re losing the in ZMOT.
“The tremendous explosion of ratings and reviews online has changed how people get information. But the change is still based on that oldest of human traits: word of mouth.
This is the first time in history that word of mouth has become a digitally-archived medium.
Why would people make decisions based on the opinions of strangers? They don’t. They make decisions based on the opinions of people like themselves. Which is who they find at ZMOT.”
Consumers trust users. It’s as simple as that. 92% will take the opinion of a stranger who uses the product over any brand or marketing.
“Engagement with the customer today isn’t just pouring a message down on their head and hoping they get wet. It really is understanding that you must be present in a conversation when they want to have it, not when you want to.”
One of the biggest and most influential aspects of growing conversions is taking a strategic approach to engagement. This is in terms of SEO, like Google suggests, but also in service. When a customer walks into a store, they don’t want to be bombarded by a sales associate. Nor do they want to spend hours sifting through the racks trying to figure out what sports jacket best matches their outfit.
When a customer lands on your page the majority of them aren’t even going to buy, and even those that are shopping and plan to purchase don’t want a “chat now” pop up shoved in their face (like the sales associate). They also don’t want to have to go to the counter to get aid with some self-service chat/support line.
The ability to identify traffic who present behaviors of purchasing, and then knowing when, where, and how to engage them alone can increase their likelihood to purchase 6-10X. Put trustworthy people behind that conversation and you’ll see that conversion increase even more.
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