How SMBs Can Capitalize on ‘Micro-moments’ in the New Path to Purchase

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A new Google and Ipsos study indicates that consumers use mobile devices more often, but for shorter periods of time. These short periods of time have been dubbed “micro-moments” and they are changing the ways consumers research and buy.  It’s becoming increasingly imperative that local businesses influence and capture consumers during these moments.

Google has been making some mobile waves lately.  Over the past few months, the company confirmed for the first time from internal data that the amount of mobile search queries had overtaken desktop searches in over 10 countries — including the U.S. and Japan. Google then released its much-hyped mobile algorithm update, as well as a number of new mobile ad formats including image-based ads and location-based “nearby” ads. This all culminated in the release last month of a study proclaiming a new behavioral shift in consumers and the death of the purchase funnel.

The study, titled “Consumers in the Micro-moment,” is a collection of insights on the mobile behavior of the constantly connected consumer filled with both qualitative and quantitative data defining a micro-moment as an intent-rich moment when a user wants to learn, find, do, or buy something, and then takes immediate action.

The research confirms what we already know about ourselves: the age of wonder is over.  With boundless amounts of information at our fingertips, we’ve been conditioned to and fully accustomed to reaching to our pockets on an impulse to quickly satisfy a need or a curiosity. We are the better informed, on-demand, multi-screen, multi-tasking, and multi-session consumer right up until the moment of purchase.

Google has set up a pretty expansive website with all of their findings and insights, but here are some stats that stood out to me for local businesses:

1. 82% of smartphone users consult their phones while in a store deciding what to buy
2. “Near me” searches have doubled in the past year and 80% of those searches come from mobile devices
3. 82% of smartphone users use a search engine when looking for a local business (click here for more on these statistics and the full data)

The Implications of this study should result in a complete mind shift for marketers, but in my opinion this study actually spells good news for local businesses. Due to the value that consumers are increasingly putting on convenience and proximity, local businesses are uniquely positioned to take advantage of and capitalize on these “micro-moments.”

What is more convenient than ordering something off of Amazon Prime? Finding out that the store next to my office currently has the same item in stock.

The key to winning the “micro-moment” is to first be there for the consumer at the moment of action, providing the consumer with information that they need that is mobile, local, and contextually relevant. But it’s also about making it as frictionless as possible for the consumer to take the next step with you.

Micro-moments in Action
Let’s take my Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend of mine to reflect on some micro-moments:

Following a hike in the mountains, my girlfriend and I were having lunch in a local restaurant in a small town (we found this restaurant incidentally by searching “lunch nearby” and reading a few reviews). Post-hike endorphins flowing and excited about summer, we were reminded by a well timed Instagram post that REI was having their annual member sale. Spurred by the post, we proceeded to REI’s mobile-friendly site and after seeing the great deals, decided maybe we should finally invest in our own tent. Knowing sometimes these mountain towns have some great local gear shops, we decided that before driving to REI we would search for camping gear in Google Maps and it turned out there was a shop two blocks away that touted “60% off retail prices.”  After arriving at the store, I have to admit that we actually were doing some showrooming, researching tents on our phones while in the store but ultimately landing on a tent the store had (reverse showroom?).

What can local SMBs do to embrace Micro-moments?
Think about a typical day and the micro-moments in your day.  What do you do when in a moment of need?  How can you apply this to your business to influence consumers during their moments of need? Talk to your customer; understand their habits and how they found you.

To get started, try to ask yourself:

— Are you triggering consumers at the right time?
— Is your website mobile-friendly?
— Are you easily found online?
— Can a consumer quickly figure out exactly what services you provide or what products you carry? Can they buy them? Can they easily shop on their mobile device and is there an option for in-store pickup or delivery?
— Are you taking advantage of location-based apps and advertisements?
— Can you make the information you are providing to your customers contextually relevant?
— After you have “won the moment” how can you make the purchase process as simple as possible?

This report confirms a seismic shift in the mentality us markets must have to provide the best content at the best time to our consumers no matter what channel or device.  A final note: summer and “when traveling” are both times when potential customers are increasingly searching for information on their mobile devices so there is no better time than now to start optimizing all of your content for the connected consumer.

MattM-Headshot1Matt Matergia leads North American business development efforts for mono solutions, a SaaS-based platform built for resellers to design, deliver, and manage professional responsive websites and e-commerce sites for small and medium-sized businesses. Matt can be reached on Twitter and Instagram.