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Google in aisle 7!

The term “First Moment of Truth” (commonly called FMOT) was coined by Procter & Gamble in 2005 to define the first interaction between a shopper and a product on a store's shelf.

This moment was considered one of the most important marketing opportunities for a brand, as P&G asserted and others believed that shoppers make up their mind about a product in the first few seconds after they encounter that product for the first time.

While this first moment of truth is still important, widespread adoption of the Internet has allowed consumers to interact with brands before they ever see a product on a shelf. At Google, we call this the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT (pronounced “zeemott”).

Thanks to the Internet, research is now at your fingertips, and word of mouth spreads like a funny cat video.

Today, it’s rare that someone would just show up at a car dealership after only seeing a commercial, or buy a fridge they saw in the Sunday flyer without looking online for more information first.

And increasingly, people are doing this preshopping for small, everyday purchases.

In a 2011 Google/Shopper Sciences study in the U.S., more than half of grocery shoppers said they used the Internet to research a purchase decision, most within two hours of an actual purchase.

In Canada, where we lead the world with an average of 43.5 hours spent online per month, grocery related searches on Google have increased more than 460 per cent since 2007; and recipe related searches (a potential indicator of grocery purchases) have risen more than 320 per cent over the same period.

With our rapid adoption of smartphones, we’re currently fourth in the world.

And 38 per cent of mobile users owning smartphones have moved from ‘going’ online to ‘being’ online all the time, with the ability to search the Internet right in the store.

People are seeking not just information, but deals, coupons and offers as well as reviews and recommendations.

For grocery retailers and consumer packaged goods marketers, it’s increasingly important to be found during these key moments that matter to the Zero Moment of Truth.

More and more marketers are recognizing and planning for this moment.

They are acting fast to respond to search behaviour, answering the questions people are asking (on their own site and others), using video to creatively showcase their products, and buying search ads.

It’s time to ask yourself how you will reach your customers in the digital age.

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