Capitalising on the new shopper path to purchase

Topics: Liquor, Shopper marketing

What impact does mobile technology have on how shoppers shop? ShopAbility looks at some opportunities for bottleshops, for National Liquor News.

After attending a number of shopper marketing and path to purchase conferences both in Australia and Asia over the past 12 months, what’s become clear is that mobile technology and social media are more than partly behind the retail revolution. And shopper behaviour is changing fast.


I’ll expand on this in more detail in the upcoming Digital Marketing feature issue of National Liquor News, but in the meantime here’s a quick overview.


The basic purchase cycle of need-plan-decide-choose-buy-use-tell hasn’t changed all that much, but what has is which bit shoppers do where, and who influences them.


Traditionally the path to purchase was thought to be prestore and instore. Prestore was when shoppers were making lists and were the passive subjects of advertising and promotional stimulus. Prestore was about consideration. Instore was where the shopper was influenced on which of their considered products in a category they would buy. Instore was where the conversion happened.


Now the model is blurred. We have conversion happening prestore, and consideration happening instore.


The advent of mobile search and compare is creating consideration at shelf, not just conversion. An example is a shopper standing in a bottleshop looking at red wine. The shopper can whip out their mobile phone and price compare the bottle in the store they are in versus somewhere else. And if the somewhere else is nearby they may change their store choice. You’re then relying on your store staff service and sales capabilities to keep the shopper in your store. Or they might be looking at a bottle on shelf and if a staff member isn’t available, look up the product information online using their smartphone.


This isn’t just for the ‘few’ who have smartphones, by the way. Australia has the second highest smartphone penetration in the world, currently over 50%, set to hit 60% by the end of 2012 and 90% by 2015.


Procter & Gamble are largely credited with coining the expression the ‘First Moment of Truth’ (or ‘store back’) to describe the shopper experience at shelf, where theoretically all the prestore and instore marketing and category management efforts come together to create a purchase decision at the shelf (or offlocation display).


Now we have not only a First Moment of Truth, but a Zero Moment of Truth (prestore) and a Second Moment of Truth (post store, when the purchased product is actually trialled).


Google’s recent report (April 2011) on the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), whilst not expressing a new idea, has probably been the first to articulate it clearly. It identifies the shift in shopper behaviour by differentiating advertising and promotional stimulus (considered passive) from online and mobile search (proactive).



The ZMOT is when a shopper actively searches for product information online. This may be from a retailer’s website, manufacturer’s website, product reviews, social media such as Facebook, and community forums and blogs (which are a form of organized word of mouth), among other things a search engine may dig up. ZMOT is everywhere because it can be accessed whilst mobile, and it’s not just for high involvement purchase categories like cars and entertainment systems. Shoppers are actively searching prestore in product categories ranging from plasticware to pet food.


The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) – product trial, usage and experience – has an impact on ZMOT. Users of a product when they get it home may post a comment about the product (and their purchase experience) on a social media website, or a product review on a blog or website. These reviews then contribute to the next shopper’s ZMOT findings.  In a recent report from IBM it was stated that a shopper is more likely to believe a review from a stranger than what a retailer or manufacturer says about a product. This demonstrates the need/role for informal product advocates and ambassadors (rather than paid celebrity sponsors).


Whilst you can’t control what shoppers post for SMOT about their shopping experience, smart retailers can use ZMOT tools and social media to drive traffic, AWOP and spend through social media exclusive offers. Coopers Brewery have been running social media specific promotions for more than a year now.


It’s time for liquor retailers to catch up to and capitalize on what shoppers are now doing to make their store choice decision your store. And it’s not just about lowest price, it’s about a true one-to-one relationship based on your understanding of their purchase patterns and behaviours.