Google’s Micro-Moments and the Evolution of the Customer Journey
Everybody has needs. We need air to breathe, food to sustain ourselves, water to quench our thirst. Over time, we have found systems that simplify how we meet our needs. Purchasing an item is one of the processes that has been simplified over the years.
The process of deciding on a purchase has evolved over time with the one constant being, the buyer, who has to think long and hard before purchasing an item. Before search engines, you had to find means to learn about the latest radio or television through magazines or newspaper reviews. Today, search engines have found a way to make your decision-making more convenient. You still need to think long and hard about a purchase but search engines have simplified your decision-making process.
The Customer Journey Before
Remember the times you passed by a car dealership with the latest model SUV? You used to pass by it every day when you lived in the city, but now, you live in the suburbs and public transportation isn’t all that good compared to the city. You’ve come to realize that you need a car. Now that you understand your problem, you begin to look for options. Maybe you don’t need to take the car. There could be a bus that drops you off at the city but you don’t like the feeling of being constrained by the bus schedule, so you consider purchasing a car. Imagine yourself as a car owner. You can go anywhere in a car but you have to pay the extra cost of maintenance and repairs. You start weighing both of your options and settle for the car. The benefits simply outweigh the costs.
The consumer journey is broken down into three parts: awareness, consideration, and decision.
Awareness: You recognize that you have a problem. In this case, you realize that you need a car because you live in the suburbs and getting to the city isn’t easy.
Consideration: You begin weighing your options to see which transport option would be better. Does riding a bus save time or simply make things more stressful because you have to follow the bus schedule? Would having a car make travel easier and more comfortable?
Decision: Finally, it’s decision time. You choose to get the car because it’s much more convenient than having to wait for the bus every day.
However, the evolution of technology has also given us new ways to decide before making a purchase with the help of studies by Google called Micro-Moments. The customer journey was connected together by four moments known as I Want to Know, I Want to Go, I Want to Do and, I Want to Buy.
The Customer Journey Today
You saw an ad for new Adidas shoes on a vacation in Utah and got curious about them. You’re not necessarily buying them immediately. All you did was raise an inquiry about the shoes itself. Because you became curious about the shoes, you looked for Adidas shoes on your desktop or mobile phone. Over time, your interest grows larger as you learn more about the shoes. Now that your interest is large enough, you decide to drop by a store and see if it’s worth getting. Once again, you go look up the store’s details with the help of a search engine on mobile or desktop. Now that you’re in the store, you start weighing your options to see if the shoes are worth it and compare the prices of this model of shoes to the store nearby. The store you found probably invested money to make sure that their store was the first store you saw on the map. Your mind is almost set on making a purchase but you just want to see how the shoe performs. After a few tests with the shoe, you’ve made up your mind and will make the purchase. You fall in line, get to the register, pay for your shoes and go.
Your journey today is a much more informed purchase compared to before because search engines have given people a new way to seek information about a product they want to buy. The customer journey was studied by Google, and they coined their own version called micro-moments.
A short description of Google’s Micro Moments
I-Want-to-Know: You can find the I-want-to-know moment the first time you flip your phone out to learn more about the shoes. There is no intention of making a purchase, you simply wanted to know more about the pair of Adidas you saw in the ad. Compare your experience to the customer journey before. You had to read up information on the shoes. There was no internet. You didn’t have the option to find other sources that mentioned how good the shoe is. Today, you can find all the information in the palm of your hand. Tap once and you have all the information you can about the shoes.
I-Want-to-Go: The I-want-to-go moment happens when you learn more about the product and you have convinced yourself it’s worth buying. All you need to do now is to find a place that sells the product which, in this case, are the shoes. Looking for the store on your phone or desktop shows how much has changed from before. You no longer had to rely on phone books or a map to get to a store. One touch of the phone is all it takes for you to find a nearby shoe shop.
I-Want-to-Do: Your I-want-to-do moment occurs as you begin choosing which shoe store would give you the best value and quality of shoes. The moment already has you in a situation where you intend to make the purchase. All you want to do now is narrow down your options before you buy the shoes.
I-Want-to-Buy: Now you’re buying the shoes. You’re already at the point of paying for the shoes. You’ve seen the shoes and looked at the different offers each store has. As the buyer, the I-want-to-buy moment comes to fruition when you’ve chosen a place to buy your shoes and you pay for them. You checked the reviews of each store and the offers they have, so you bought them at that store.
The challenges of finding information on a product are almost gone. You no longer have to struggle with finding information on shoes, finding stores that sell them, comparing prices and deciding whether or not to buy the shoes. Your journey as a customer has evolved from your needs being answered in due time to instant gratification.