Could I have a few moments of your time? I’d like to introduce you to the concept of “micro-moments”. As the name suggests, these are the short moments when consumers use their mobile phone to act on a need to find out, to do or to buy. These intent-rich moments are invaluable for marketeers, and online brands like to make good use of them. Google even goes so far as to describe micro-moments as the key drivers of a customer’s purchasing decision. One thing is certain, for businesses that know how to exploit them, these micro-moments offer some great opportunities.
What are micro-moments?
It’s not that long ago that the mobile phone transformed our way of life. This mobile revolution in effect created the need we now have for detailed, local and up-to- date information on the move, on our mobiles. What are the prices at this shop? Is the product I want in stock? Where’s the nearest outlet? What else do they sell? These are what Google means by micro-moments. The tech giant is bold enough to claim that micro-moments are what really pushes a consumer to make a purchase (or not).
In 2011 – just five years ago – Google termed the moment a consumer enters a shop the ‘zero moment of truth’. This moment is comparable, according to Google’s vision at the time, to a consumer doing online research about a product without the seller being aware of his existence. But Google has modified its vision dramatically. It’s not really an isolated moment at all that typifies consumer behavior, Google now says, but rather a series of micro-moments. And so a crucial part of the buy cycle is split into smaller, more easily ‘digestible’ scenarios.
These micro-moments are changing the customer journey. We used to think of this journey as we do of making an actual trip from A to B; now we break down this journey into short, real-time moments that can influence and shape the needs of the consumer as he or she makes the very first, tentative steps towards a purchase. What’s more, the utopian omnichannel concept is out of date, argues Krista Dirksen of digital agency One Shoe. ‘Omnichannel reflects the thinking of the organization, not its customers, who are always thinking of the right moment, not the right channel.” Webshops are very focused on selling products. Think differently, says Dirksen. “The sale is secondary.” Customers want to decide at any given moment what channel they use.
The smartphone has created a world in which the consumer must satisfy his or her needs instantly and at all times. And this hunger for information is fed in bite-size moments: in the queue at the supermarket checkout or during a short train journey. Such moments always start with the concrete need: I want to know, do, go or buy right now. During this phase, the average buyer consults 10 sources; in 2010, this number stood at just over 5. What starts as a micro-moment usually leads to a commitment to buy – often on other channels. Many customers do their product research in a shop and then go on buy the product at home on the sofa.
Okay, so we throw money at optimizing mobile ecommerce and product information? Well, that’s only part of the solution. By taking product data as your starting point, and by connecting this data across all channels, you will reach the most profitable costumers – that is to say, those who consult a lot of channels. In that micro-moment when a customer asks for information, you want to be sure your webshop has that information to hand. This demands back-end integration of product data, rich content for marketing purposes as well as stock and logistical information. So start by sorting out your data. When this source is available, you can begin to communicate consistently. And that’ll boost sales!