We already know that new technologies have completely changed the way products, services, and even content is consumed, but the recent revolution in the purchase decision occurred when smartphones made their way into the user’s routine. The mobile first experience, which provides immediate access to information, has empowered all targets audiences. In this search for immediate answers, the new consumer demanded a new level of relationship with brands, called micro-moments.
Created by Google almost two years ago, the concept of micro-moments presupposes the fragmentation of the consumer journey, driven by the mobile first experience. You no longer have to stare at a desktop or notebook screen to research prices, to learn an activity – such as changing a tyre or knowing how to reach your destination in safety. With smartphones, which are true pocket-sized computers, the answers to almost every question lay just a click away.
Smartphones fragmented the user journey
But what does this mean in practice? If digital platforms previously served as the pillars of what was an almost solemn moment, with full attention focused on the search and selection of a product or service, the popularization of mobile phones turned the game around. Now, the purchase decision is literally in the user’s hand, and this crucial moment can take place in seemingly unpretentious situations, while other stimuli, such as commute, lunch, or even TV – in a process called second screen, occur. In addition, the dispersion of user attention requires brands to deploy an even greater effort to capture and retain customer loyalty.
The new consumer, who is more engaged than ever, assumes the role of owner in terms of purchasing power. He researches opinions on a product that draws his interest in social networks, he watches reviews on a video platform to understand how it works, he compares prices and features to decide, at some point, if he will move forward with the purchase – online or not. The process is not systematic and micro-moments do not necessarily follow a given order, which further complicates the brand’s relationship with this engaged consumer.
But the purchase decision was a structured process at some point
In 2011, Google set the moment for online decision making as Zero Moment of The Truth (ZMOT). The ZMOT happened between the stimulus and the purchase itself. This is when the user seeks more data to make his choice. With all the necessary information at hand, the First Moment of Truth used to take place when the consumer made a purchase decision, be it online or offline, paying for the product or service of interest. The Second Moment of Truth used to be determined by the client’s experience with its acquisition. As we can see in the image below, the user’s opinion about this purchase became the ZMOT of another consumer, who sought information – after the stimulus and before making the purchase. For a few years, the purchase decision followed this cycle.
Source: Think With Google
Mobile first: the phenomenon that changed the ZMOT
But what about today? How can we define the purchase decision process? Micro-moments do not allow a specific cycle to be created since the interactions with the consumer happen in a fragmented way throughout the users’ journey. Decision-making happens at impulsive moments, generated by a specific need and at no set time.
Source: Think With Google
The battle for the mind – and heart – of the consumer became even tougher
So, in a universe filled with different brands, what do brands need to do to be the one chosen at the time of the purchase decision? The consumer is undoubtedly not basing his decision on lowest prices alone. It is necessary to understand the user journey, to understand in which economic and social scenario that user is inserted, the causes he stands for, among other characteristics, to devise a strategy that is truly able to bring you closer to him. More than ever, brands need empathy to respond to consumer cravings.
In this context, Design Thinking is a powerful tool for companies looking to keep their images aligned with the expectations of potential customers. The user-centric methodology encourages the search for solutions to real problems. The process of generating ideas is systematic and structured, from distinct stages and specific tools, which allow from the optimization of internal processes to the development of products and services that are more assertive for the end user.