In today's fast-paced world nothing is constant, not even retailing. Although the brick and mortar store still remains the foundation of modern retailing, one can't overlook the growing importance of online retailing.

Consider Amazon: the largest online retailer saw it's revenues rise 2.6 times over a period of five years to reach U.S. $88.99 billion in 2014. Consequently, Walmart, the #1 retailer in the world, saw it's revenues rise by 1.2 times over a period of five years to reach U.S. $485.65 billion for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2015.

Further, the exponential rise of internet connectivity and devices (used to access internet) has significantly altered the behavior of consumers. Just to give a perspective global smartphone penetration per capita which was at 9.6% in 2011 is projected to reach 34.2% in 2017. This has affected how the ever-connected consumers have been shopping. Statista.com reports that, per a 2015 study, 46% of internet users in the Asia Pacific region and 20% of Internet users in North America had purchased products via a mobile device, whether smartphone or tablet computer.

In light of such drastic change in consumer shopping behavior, Google's Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) theory has become an invaluable source of insight to marketers who seek to influence consumer buying behavior. It has definitely made P&G's three step model (Stimuli - First Moment of Truth - Second Moment of Truth) better.

In early 2011, Google partnered with Shopper Sciences to uncover the journey a modern day consumer takes before she purchases a product via online shopping websites or brick-and-mortar stores. What Google and Shopper Sciences uncovered was quite startling. They found that the consumer decision-making process triggered after being exposed to a stimuli but preceding the first moment of truth is significant. This was termed as ZMOT.

In today's world, consumers do not go knocking at the doors of retailers to enquire more about a product after they are exposed to an advertisement for that product. They connect to the Internet, search more about the product, read about other consumers' experience with the product and even reach out to their family and friends (not via phone call or face-to-face meetings) via social media. Hence, it doesn't come as a surprise that online search surpassed family and friends as most frequently used source of information.

In order to win customers, marketers need to understand how they think and act. ZMOT helps marketers to gain that perspective and then utilize the learning to further develop their marketing strategy and fine-tune their tactics in the marketplace. Success will come to those marketers who think ahead, think fast and ZMOT is just the first step towards gaining a larger share of a consumer's wallet.

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