The first step in being there and being useful is understanding and acting on shoppers’ intent and their context. Intent is what the shopper wants in any given moment (Is she looking to browse or to buy?), while context includes her location and the device she’s using.

If you marry intent and context with what you already know about your shopper (Has she visited your site in the past? Is she a loyal customer?), you can start being there and being useful in the right moments.

By targeting on demographics alone, you may miss out on valuable consumers who may be in market at that moment. Consider this example: If you sell car seats and you target moms alone, you’d be missing out on relatives or friends who might be in the market to buy a car seat as a baby shower gift. You may also be wasting marketing dollars by targeting moms who already own a car seat or women without children.

It’s less important for a shopper to be present in-store than for the store to be present wherever and whenever a shopper needs it.

Let’s look at one retailer that has put intent and context at the center of its shopper experience. Target saw that 98% of its guests were shopping digitally and that 75% were starting on mobile. But in categories like patio furniture, its in-store and online teams were still operating and marketing separately, even as more than 50% of their sales in the patio category were coming through Target.com.

Being There in Micro-Moments, Especially on Mobile

Why being there in micro-moments matters. And how brands can be present.

The company looked at it from its customers’ point of view. Guests might search on smartphones for patio furniture, then see completely different merchandise when they came into their local store. So Target merged its online and offline marketing and merchandising teams into a single unified patio team that was mobile-first. It decided what products and signage to feature in-store based on digital demand.

Target also ran Google local inventory ads to show customers on mobile the exact patio furniture that was available in the store nearest them. As a result, patio revenues in the stores in which Target made this change have been dramatically outpacing the stores in which the change has yet to be made.

In addition to understanding intent and context, it’s crucial for retailers to embrace the latest trends and engage with shoppers in new ways. In this five-part series, we’ll share:

  • Consumer trends that define each of these retail micro-moments.
  • Snapshots of real shoppers’ purchase journeys.
  • Actions retail marketers can take to be there and be useful in each micro-moment.
  • Success stories from retailers using micro-moments strategies.

1 Google/Ipsos Connect, GPS omnibus, U.S. online respondents 18+, n=2,013, Mar. 2016.
2 Google/Ipsos, Consumers in the Micro-Moment, U.S., n=5,398 based on internet users, Mar. 2015.
3 ShopperTrak 2015 holiday, U.S. retail sales.
4 MasterCard SpendingPulse 2010–2015, U.S. retail sales.
5 Google Trends, Search for “near me,” U.S., 2015 vs. 2014.
6 Google Data, aggregated, anonymized data from Google Analytics, U.S. only, Apr. 2016.
7 Google Analytics, retailer aggregated data, U.S., Mar. 2016.