The First, Second, and Zero Moment of Truth: Explained.

The First, Second, and Zero Moment of Truth for Your Fashion Brand: Explained.

In an increasingly digitized world, customers get to your brand not just through a simple click, but through a full-fledged journey across digital and physical spaces. 

Customers usually start their journey with a question, designed to help them overcome a challenge. Often this question is written in search engines, and that’s why your SEO strategy needs to be on point.

As they learn more about the challenge they are facing they can begin to understand how it can be addressed through a product or service. 

Eventually, customers come into contact with your product or brand and have to make a decision. Is this the right solution to my problem? Does it have all of the things I am looking for? 

Will your product be able to satisfy their need?

That’s what your marketing department has been trying to convince them of, but the truth is that each customer will process information or even advice differently, and will therefore have to make a decision, which is a combination of reason and instinct. 

That’s because brands both connect to tangible benefits as well as emotional dimensions of the customer’s imagination.

When customers entertain the idea of buying your products to solve their challenges, that’s what we call a “moment of truth”. 

It is called a moment of truth because you don’t actually know if your communication strategy is in fact able to persuade your customer to buy. 

The fact is that there is actually more than one moment of truth along your customer journey and you need to be aware of them so that you can address them successfully. 

In today’s post, we’re going to discuss them in more depth. 

With no further ado, let’s dive into the topic.

The First Moment of Truth and Why It Matters.

Imagine your customer walking through the aisle of a supermarket, looking for a product to buy. 

At one point, the bright packaging of a product – or maybe its discounted price – catches his or her attention. 

The customer picks it up from the shelf and looks at it more closely. Will it be added to the shopping cart? In a split second, the customer makes a decision to add it. 

That split-second decision is the first moment of truth. The product is analyzed by the customer, and as he or she processes the decision to buy,  all of the known information about the product is being reviewed. 

The logo of the brand, its colors, and shape trigger a series of memories connected to the product’s reputation, its advertising and commercial ads, or even its heritage. 

In that split second a decision is based, whereby if the product is able to summon a general positive feeling, it gets bought, if it doesn’t well, it goes back to the shelf. 

This is a moment of truth or a moment where all information about a product is condensed and processed into a simple yes or no decision. The decision to buy it or not. This is what we call the first moment of truth.

The fact is that with this first MOT, the customer will essentially need to decide to trust the product and its brand promise. 

At the moment of purchase, you don’t actually know if the product you have chosen will be able to successfully do the job it is supposed to. You’re deciding whether to trust it or not.

To find out about the product’s ability to solve your problem you’ll need to wait to go home and test it. 

That’s what we call the second moment of truth and we will be discussing it in the next section of our post.

The Second Moment of Truth.

Let’s say that the customer has bought a new pair of shoes, supposedly fashionable but very comfortable.  

The customer goes home and the next day, he wears the shoes to work, to see if they stay comfortable despite the customer spending the whole day walking about town. 

At the end of the day, the customer can answer these questions:

  • Did anybody notice the new shoes, and maybe made a compliment to him on their design?
  • Did he feel comfortable in these shoes, despite walking all day?

These answers are part of the second moment of truth. Did the comfortable, yet fashionable shoes deliver on their promise? 

Yes, they did!  The customer looking back at his shopping decision is happy about his purchase and will certainly recommend the shoe brand to other potential customers.

This is the second MOT, the moment in which the customer gets to understand if – all advertising aside – the decision to buy the product was a good one, based on his personal experience and the product’s performance. 

What seems to be the case then is that customers can’t really know what they are buying ahead of time, because you can only really test the product against its brand promise after having bought it. 

That’s actually not the case anymore. Influencers and social media can help us experience this second moment of truth even before we even see a product on display. 

This is what a Zero Moment of Truth is, and we’re going to discuss it next.

The “Zero Moment of Truth” Explained.

In this third case, our customer is interested in finding some comfortable, yet stylish shoes to wear at work. 

He conducts some online research and finds a fashion influencer who is out to help his followers understand what shoes are the best option for a trendy yet comfortable look in the shoewear department. 

The influencer tests different brands by comparing the packaging and unpacking process, the quality of the product under close inspection, and other purchase experience dimensions.

Moreover, the influencer tests the reviewed shoes for multiple days to provide a real-life experience of the products. At the end of the video, or post, the influencer provides his recommendation. Which ones delivered on their promise? Which ones are striking the best price-value balance? Which ones does he recommend?

Because of the fact that our customer has seen this video, he is now able to access this real-life, hands-on experience on shoewear options before even seeing any of the products on display.

This is what we call the Zero Moment of Truth or an MOT connected to customers being able to connect with post-purchase experiences through social media and online content. 

A  brand needs to be aware of how earned media is able to influence the customer’s purchasing decision journey and make sure that customers who use mainly digital channels have access to information that can showcase the benefits of their products. 

Ultimately a fashion brand needs to be fully aware of these three different MOTs in order to create a pleasant and enjoyable customer journey for its prospective buyers, in order to maximize the chances of a sale.

Great, now that we’ve covered all three MOTs it’s time to move on to our conclusive remarks.


There you have it! In this post, we’ve analyzed the three “Moments of Truth” that your brand will experience as it connects to your customers. 

This model, can help you understand your customer’s journey better, and analyze in more minute detail what is making or breaking your brand’s purchase experience. 

To better understand this approach, we also recommend looking into customer journey mapping and touchpoint analysis, maybe by exploring some of the articles available in our blog section.

If you’d like to read more about customer journeys and moments of truth, there’s a book we’d like to recommend: How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change.

It’s always a good idea to look into some academic backing and literature to fully understand such a fascinating and nuanced topic.

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The First, Second, and Zero Moment of Truth: Explained. In this post, we're discussing what is a moment of truth in marketing strategy and how it affects your customer journey.
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