Sleek Ad Tailoring for Online Apparel Shoppers

Consumers have gotten on board with the concept of buying apparel online. Especially in this era of free returns and nifty sizing tools, buying clothing and shoes off the Web has become mainstream. However, some advertisers have been slow to respond.

While most of us have at some point been served ads displaying the pair of boots or running tights we browsed the day before, that’s about as far as most advertisers take their dynamic campaigns — and it’s costing them. Dynamic creative has the power and potential to do much more, especially in the apparel sector.

Endless Possibilities

From inventory turnover to continually changing fashions and seasons, apparel marketing is as dynamic as it gets, with tastes and trends changing virtually by the minute. A dynamic marketplace calls for advertising that is agile, changeable and highly personalized to track with user interests — i.e., dynamic creative.

Dynamic ads offer a way to keep pace with the dizzying blur that is fashion, and the power to engage audiences in a relevant, personalized and timely way that has been proven to generate conversions.

Let’s take the ever-problematic issue of inventory, for example. Apparel vendors must walk a fine line between stocking enough of today’s hot styles and getting stuck with cold leftovers. With dynamic ads, you can retarget and reengage consumers with products they’ve browsed — reviving interest or perhaps sweetening the deal with free shipping.

What if a browsed item is sold out? No problem. A rich dynamic feed ensures you can retarget with new items in that category or similar styles. With a dynamic approach, you can make a sale that is in sync with your real-time business needs.

Even brick-and-mortar boutiques can get a boost from dynamic ads to stay competitive. Dynamic ads can be tailored to promote nearby store locations, popular products targeted by geography — or even local weather — and current in-store product availability. Dynamic ads also can promote upcoming marketing events, local promotions, brand news and free in-store pickups.

Following are a few dynamic tactics apparel advertisers should try on for size.

Put Your Data to Work

Data is the key to personalizing ads to customer interests and intent, and it can fuel dynamic campaigns in surprising ways.

  • If you liked that, you’ll love this… Don’t stop with what a shopper browsed or left in the basket. Use your customer data to do what a great salesperson does — cross-sell with complementary items or accessories to encourage consumers to build an entire ensemble, or upsell with an irresistible or trending item in the same category.
  • Know shoppers’ habits. What gender/age do they buy for? Do they buy mostly gift cards or spend hundreds of dollars every month? Consider shaping the ad experience with lifestyle photos tailored to your audience.
  • Mirror shopping styles. Some consumers may shop through lookbooks, some shop through styles and featured recommendations, and some go directly to the clearance zone. Consumers of high-end brands especially appreciate engaging experiences and want to access new collections right on the ad. Use your ad to appeal to how they shop.

Follow the Journey

Dynamic techniques can be applied to every phase of the purchase path, before, during and after the sale.

  • When you place your retargeting pixels, consider spots where users may be taking an alternative shopping path (such as interstitials showing when an item has been added to the bag or quick-look windows).
  • Optimize your upper-funnel ads based on post-impression conversions to promote the most influential creative versions of your dynamic ads.
  • Fuel interest by targeting consumers who have shown interest in a category with dynamic ads displaying featured products, new arrivals and bestsellers.
  • Leverage customer data after the sale to cross-sell and retarget buyers.

Use Word of Mouth

Apparel customers rely heavily on the reviews and comments of other buyers to assess quality and fit. Why not use those actual customer recommendations and reviews to populate your dynamic campaigns?

And by all means, use social shopping to your advantage. Let users share items and images from your ad directly to Pinterest or Facebook.

Keep It fresh

Using dynamic templates allows you to create multifaceted conversations with your customers. Rotate in style tips, looks-to-try and fashion advice to stay fresh and intriguing. If interest has waned for items browsed last week or left too long in the cart, rotate in something fresh in that category or style.

Similarly, don’t promote low-availability products or feature redundant products (two size SKUs of the same product). Include a color picker on your product ads instead of showing the same product in multiple colors.

Dynamic ads have virtually unlimited potential for advertisers to develop relevant, tailored and high-performing ads with surprisingly little effort. Especially in the fast-moving apparel marketplace, successful advertisers increasingly will be those who get comfortable in this powerful creative format.

Ricky Liversidge is CMO of open ad management company Sizmek.

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