Zero moment of truth – the true demand signal

I was reading a great eBook by our friends over a Google that discuss what they call ZMOT: the “Zero Moment of Truth.” Traditionally we have been taught to focus on two moments of truth. The first being when a consumer gets to the store shelf. At this moment, your inventory had better be available in the shape, color, size, price and quantity that the consumer desires. The second moment of truth occurs when the consumer begins to actually use the item. The experience had better meet their expectations or even better – exceed the expectations.

This model has changed with our 24/7 connectivity as well as the rise of mobility. Now there is what is termed the zero moment. This is the moment when your future consumer realizes they have a need or desire, maybe even want your particular product. With our global connectivity and enhanced by mobility, these consumers can now access a world of information that is at their fingertips…literally. We are starting to see the behavior shift this creates for both retailers and consumers. Retailers and manufacturers must have their house in order when a consumer arrives at ZMOT. The question is – how does this impact our supply chains?

There is a lot to be said of demand signals being picked up from data sources such as POS, order history, inventory levels to name a few. However what about the rich data that can found at ZMOT? An example: today a manufacturer can pick up POS data that shows a high demand for flu medicine. They might

What if  you had this map weeks before the outbreak?

What if you had this map weeks before the outbreak?

correctly assume that there is a flu outbreak in that geography and shift inventory within their system to meet this demand. But could this already be too late? What about looking for demand signals at the ZMOT? When consumers are searching on line for “signs of the flu” or “how do I tell I have the flu.” Google has already demonstrated how it can take data from ZMOT and predict the flu outbreak – click here for story. Rather than waiting to see what is selling, what about anticipating what is going to be looked for at the store shelf?

For your supply chain, it would be beneficial to leverage this data to better anticipate demand. Rather than waiting for the data coming from POS, leverage the information at ZMOT to anticipate how that demand will happen. POS and other data can be used in conjunction to adjust your demand signals. More and more consumers already know what they want when they enter your store or at the purchase point, those that can not only get to them at ZMOT but also leverage information from ZMOT will ensure that the first moment of truth is heavily in their favor.

The saying “you read my mind” can become a reality if you tap into the demand signal that is at the ZMOT.


Filed under Consumer Product Goods, Demand Shaping, Retail, Supply Chain

2 responses to “Zero moment of truth – the true demand signal

  1. Parag

    Absolutely. Along with google, other sources, for example – ADP or food stamp data, could be used too. At what point customer would not like reading of mind, possibly a privacy concern.

    Also, how can this be used in a slow solutions sales scenario?


  2. I think the sources of data will come in all forms. Companies will look to find uncovered patterns that can give them whatever advantage they can get over the next competitor.

    With regards to slow sales, could companies look at the ZMOT for negative signals. For example – not only was there a spike in queries about the flu but there is also a strong trend overall for more natural remedies. So if a company is pushing a non holistic solution that involves more than a medicine that comes from a box. Or could data at the ZMOT indicate that you are not providing the information clients want and therefore are stopping at that point in their path to purchase?

    As for privacy…that is a whole other topic! Maybe good fodder for some blog posts…stay tuned.


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