Posted by Catherine McGavin ● Dec 5, 2017 12:01:00 AM

Retail Moments of Truth, Part 3

Retail Moment of Truth - Zero Moment of Truth

When your customers naturally and easily find what they seek, their satisfaction with your product begins even before they purchase it.

A relatively recent “Retail Moment of Truth” is what Google identifies as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)the time when a customer searches for your product. This includes online search, of course, but also the actual, physical search in the retail store—in an ocean of competitive products. For your customer’s ZMOT to succeed, your product must first reach its place on the retail shelf. Then you must provide an easy path for your customers to arrive at that same place and discover it.

With the EMERALD PACKAGE PLANNER, you can get ready to satisfy your customers with a successful search.

Fitting In and Standing Out

Designer Miriam Walsh Lisco once said, “Your package must fit into your market and yet stand out in your market.” This is true on many levels, but especially on the shelf. A packaging research report in Quirk’s says that findability and shopability impact retail sales more than other factors. In a chaotic retail setting, even the best packages and displays are knocked over, pushed aside, or located in the wrong place. When a retail display is difficult to stock, your product piles up at the back of the store. Its shelf sits empty just as your customer comes looking.

Packaging World and Brand Packaging Magazine identify several factors that help create a healthy path to the shelf:

  • 12Moments_Img1.jpgA package that travels well by pallet is easier for the retailer to receive, unload and place on display.
  • A package built for a distinct customer experience makes the product attractive for the retailer to promote, on its own or with complementary products.
  • A package that matches your shelf-set and promotion helps your customers zero in on a familiar identity as they scan hundreds of retail products in the store.
  • A package that merchandises through all 4 phases ensures that the retailer keeps it in place and ready for sale:
    • How it sits on the shelf
    • How it displays
    • How it sells down
    • How it restocks.

To win at ZMOT, you must first make your retailer successful preparing and maintaining your product’s display. When you fit in and stand out in the retail store, the customers’ search for your product is more natural, easy, and satisfying.

The Pre-Shopping Phenomenon

In Google’s 2011 eBook, Winning the ZMOT, Gravitytank Strategic Advisor Bob Thacker noted, “Pre-shopping before buying has become a huge part of customer behavior. It’s crossed all categories. It’s just the way people buy today.” Whether they use PCs or smart devices, your customers are investigating your product before they even set foot in the store. 


At the critical Zero Moment of Truth between Stimulus and Shelf, your customers seek out the stories, reports, recipes, and ratings that will send them to the store to find and choose your product. Their intent to buy during this Search Moment opens a great opportunity for us to add value and win their preference. Google classifies these customers and their moments of intent into four areas:

  • I want to know moment: Looking for help making a purchase decision.
  • I want to go moment: Looking for help finding a place to buy the product.
  • I want to do moment: Looking for help using the product.
  • I want to buy moment: Looking for help choosing the product correctly.

ZMOT buyers are looking for help! You can guide them to discover your product if you are present at their moments of intent and help them make their search a success.  Smart marketers answer their customers’ favorite online searches with exactly the right information to satisfy each of these powerful moments of intent.

As Google’s Jim Lecinski said, “There are two heroes in these stories: the consumer who does the research, and the grocery store manager or marketer who is smart enough to be there at the moment the shopper is looking for them.”


Topics: Retail Packaging, Retail Moments of Truth, Retail Merchandizing, Packaging As Marketing