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Google's Jim Lecinski recently published an important internet manifesto entitled, "Winning the Zero Moment of Truth". If you're not familiar with the 'Moment of Truth' concept, you can watch this short video from Google to better understand it.
As the video describes, historically there were said to be three psychological steps in any buying process: the 'Stimulus' (an advertisement), the 'First Moment of Truth' or FMOT (the product display), and the 'Second Moment of Truth' (the user experience). According to Google, because of the rise of the internet, a 'Zero Moment of Truth' or ZMOT is occurring between the Stimulus and First Moment of Truth. That is, before consumers visit your dealership showroom for a test drive (their First Moment of Truth), a growing number of them are going online to conduct research. This preliminary stage of online interaction with your dealership and inventory represents the Zero Moment of Truth.
Google reports that 70% of Americans look at product reviews prior to making a purchase. In addition, car shoppers search sites like AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, Edmunds.com, Craigslist and Facebook to get vehicle information and recommendations. The ZMOT concept is so important to dealers that Brian Pasch of PCG Digital Marketing recently initiated a study of ZMOT in the automotive space with 100 dealerships based upon insights he first presented in this video.
Having your dealership present and available to consumers at their Zero Moment of Truth is essential to channeling more buyers into your sales funnel. In their 2011 Automotive Shopping Behavior Study, Google suggests that dealers must "follow shoppers through an increasingly complex path to purchase versus relying on traditional online destinations alone." Your dealership's ability to make a positive impression at precisely the right time and place to influence consumer buying decisions is the goal of any advertising campaign. What can be greater however, is the power to both influence a buyer and at the same time, open up a direct line of communication between them and your sales team. This is, in essence, the promise of live chat.
Live chat is commonly thought of as a tool to convert traffic from dealership websites into appointments - and it is. But today, major auto manufacturer websites and third-party automotive sites are displaying Contact At Once! chat icons and invitations to consumers on their websites. As well, dealerships have the option through Contact At Once! of extending their ZMOT presence by placing chat on Craigslist, Facebook, email campaigns, quote request forms and a variety of other consumer touch points. Having a wider chat presence is an important consideration for dealerships looking to influence more consumers during the Zero Moment of Truth. Contact At Once! is one of the few, cost effective ways dealers can maintain a constant presence across the broadest spectrum of ZMOT locations.
"For car buyers, the process is not linear - they can go from ZMOT to FMOT, back and forth until they buy. By having Contact At Once! at both points of contact, the customer experience is consistently positive." - Brian Pasch of PCG Digital Marketing
It is easy to understand the benefits of having a salesperson greet every shopper that walks into the showroom. But how does this relate to online shoppers and the Zero Moment of Truth? Online shoppers who are greeted in a similar fashion by a real person at the dealership are essentially being offered the same, positive, albeit virtual experience. Also noteworthy, is that with chat greetings, subsequent positive impressions are made as the consumer moves from one research point to another. For example, a consumer who sees salesperson, Julie from Frank Leta Honda on AutoTrader.com may notice her again later on when the shopper arrives at the Frank Leta Honda website. Once the shopper finally arrives at the dealership for a test drive (the First Moment of Truth), it is likely that the shopper is already familiar with Julie and more confident about choosing her dealership.
"I love the fact that our own photos are used on the chat invitations. Buyers love the fact that they can see the same people online that they can in the store! If they decide to chat, they feel more at ease approaching me in the store later and saying hello! One buyer said that he had heard that we pride our store on being a family and knowing I was an actual person made him feel as if he could trust us." - Julie Sieber, Internet Marketing Manager at Frank Leta Honda
Understanding ZMOT and the power of being present and available to shoppers at the Zero Moment of Truth can help your dealership increase sales opportunities and showroom traffic.
Ed Parkinson of Contact At Once! will be speaking on the topic of ZMOT at the upcoming Digital Marketing Strategies Conference presented by Brian Pasch and PCG Digital Marketing in Las Vegas on February 1-3. For more information and to register for the event, visit: www.digitalmarketingstrategies.org