How motivation-based shopping can help brands engage shoppers

December 16, 2022 | By Irene Oh, Sr. Content Marketing Manager, Fashion

Girl posing

This blog highlights Amazon Ads insights and trends covered during our 2022 unBoxed session: Watch the full session here.

Building brand loyalty among fashion shoppers is more important than ever as shoppers are often unsure whether they want to purchase from a specific brand. According to an Amazon Ads and Kantar survey, in 2022, US apparel shoppers in general said they were 1.3x more likely to be undecided on brands at the start of their shopping journey compared to 2020,1 suggesting that consumers may not be as loyal to brands as they once were. Brands that understand shoppers’ purchase motivations—and then customize offerings, messaging, and experiences to align themselves with such needs—have a good opportunity to foster an authentic relationship. In fact, according to a third-party study done by Zippia, 78% of customers perceive a relationship with a company that is using custom content—such as ad creative with contextually relevant messaging—to connect with them.2

Forming brand-customer relationships can mean increased trust, loyalty, and customer engagement. In addition, even though they might not all feel that they have a relationship with the brand, 90% of customers find custom content useful, and 82% feel more positive about a company after they consume custom content.3 These trends indicate that brands looking to build loyalty can cater to fashion shoppers with experiences customized to their purchase motivations.

Brands can help shoppers decide on what to buy

A majority of shoppers appear to be open-minded when they begin browsing: 69% of apparel shoppers say they are undecided on a brand at the start of their shopping journey (a 30% increase from 2020), according to the Amazon Ads and Kantar study.4 While shoppers are open to considering multiple brands, aesthetics are an important factor. In fact, an MRI-Simmons study found that 78% of apparel shoppers agree that “when shopping for fashion, the overall look is more important than the brand.”5 Taken together, advertisers can engage with shoppers during the discovery phase of their shopping journey by prioritizing aesthetics or style in their marketing.

What we recommend:

Inspire during the discovery phase with Amazon Live

Since shoppers are often seeking inspiration without being wholly decided on a specific brand or product, advertisers can engage shoppers through interactive discovery channels, like Amazon Live. Amazon Live features influencers’ and style experts’ favorite fashion finds and styling tips to engage with viewers. Shoppers may look to these personalities for relevant style curation and opinions. In fact, on average, soft-line fashion brands that sponsor live series on Amazon Live see 69% of their direct sales from consumers who have never purchased from the brand before, suggesting that shoppers are more inspired to purchase after viewing this content.6

Engage with audiences based on lifestyle and aesthetics versus a brand-first strategy

Brands can also engage with audiences based on shopping behaviors and preferences that may indicate potential interest in products or services (such as lifestyle, or indications that shoppers are in-market for a new item). Shoppers’ lifestyles can often influence how they might curate their closets. For example, “active lifestyle” shoppers and “luxury streetwear” shoppers may purchase the same pair of sneakers for different reasons. These behavioral audiences reference past shopping behaviors in the aggregate within relevant categories to reach potentially interested shoppers with purposeful messaging. Fashion brands may want to consider building relevant brand messaging by distinguishing audiences’ preferences and behaviors.

Brands can discover and leverage such audiences on Amazon DSP. In fact, on average, brands that reach audiences based on both behavioral shopping and demographic signals saw a 41% increase in consideration compared to brands that leverage demographic signals alone.7 Brands that can create compatible messaging for shoppers based on their lifestyle needs may be able to reach them more effectively.

Focus on helping shoppers curate their style, not dress them head to toe

Shoppers’ closets are diverse, so it’s unrealistic for brands to focus on being the exclusive brand in their closets. Research has found that shoppers appear to prioritize customization and curation when it comes to their fashion. According to the Kantar study, 65% of consumers surveyed have five or more apparel brands in their closet, and 82% mix and match items from different brands when putting together an outfit.8 These findings suggest that shoppers are likely purchasing from multiple brands because they like variety. When brands focus on ensuring they are the only brand in shoppers’ closets, they’re missing what today’s apparel consumers may be seeking: the ability to design their own outfits.

What we recommend:

Prioritize repeat purchases on channels like video ads

By understanding fashion shoppers’ motivations—like their preference for variety and selection—advertisers are better able to serve both current and new customers with more relevant messaging. It’s highly unlikely for a brand to be the only label in shoppers’ closets, so focusing on inspiring repeat purchases may be more effective for building shopper loyalty. One way brands can cultivate engagement with returning shoppers and new-to-brand loyalists is by leveraging highly engaging formats like video. According to an MRI-Simmons report, 83% of apparel shoppers have engaged with streaming TV in the past seven days.9 Internal Amazon data found that apparel brands that included video ads like Streaming TV ads within their strategy observed on average a 2.8x higher growth in repeat customers, and 2x higher sales growth in comparison to brands that did not include video ads in their strategy.10

By reframing customer loyalty as more than being the only brand that shoppers love to wear, advertisers can engage relevant audiences to inform the path to purchase for both new and returning brand loyalists. Strategies that cater to shoppers’ motivations—such as openness to brand discovery, aesthetic-first preferences, lifestyle, and desire for variety—can enable advertisers to engage shoppers in more meaningful ways. Such motivation-based strategies can help drive discovery for brands, and reach fashion shoppers where they are and where they consume their favorite content.

Want to turn these fashion insights into action? Contact us, or visit our guide on fashion industry marketing.

1 Kantar Apparel Customer Study, US, Sept 2020; Kantar Apparel Custom Study, US, May 2022
4 Kantar Apparel Custom Study, US, May 2022
5 MRI-Simmons, US, Spring 2022
6 Amazon Live Fashion Sponsorships 2021­-2022. (Results are representative of all softlines sponsoring brand campaigns 2021­-2022 and not indicative of future performance)
7 Amazon internal data, 2021
8 Kantar Apparel Custom Study, US, May 2022
9 MRI-Simmons, US, Spring 2022
10 Amazon internal data, US, June 2021–June 2022