8 Types of Buyer Motivation Every eCommerce Brand Should Know About

It’s difficult to know exactly what motivates consumers to buy a particular product. It could simply be that they need it. However, complex reasons like vanity, self-improvement or fear of missing out often play a part in buyer motivation.

Luckily, eCommerce marketers are well-positioned to figure out the buyer motivation of their audience and create campaigns accordingly. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

What is buyer motivation?

Buyer motivation is the driving force behind your brand’s online conversions. In essence, it’s about the psychological factors which cause prospects to convert.

Understanding these motivations can help brands better position their products and effectively engage consumers at every stage of the consumer journey. If you can speak directly to the wants and needs of your audience, you’re sure to attract more conversions.

 

8 types of buyer motivation

Buyer motivations are complex and often overlap. Sometimes they are rational; other times they are emotional. Often, consumers aren’t even conscious of their motivations. But, generally, marketers can categorise buyer motives using these eight headings.

Need

Need is probably the most powerful purchase motivation. If a shopper genuinely needs your product, they are likely to buy it. However, consumers won’t always be aware of this need – especially if you’re selling a new product that consumers aren’t yet familiar with.

Marketers can take advantage of this purchase motivation by highlighting a problem and then showcasing how their product addresses it. Brands can use this narrative to appeal to consumers through videos, blog posts, ads, product descriptions and social media posts.

Pleasure

Most consumers buy more than just basic necessities. They often invest in non-essential products that make them feel good too. This is a big buyer motivation for consumers of luxury clothing, but it can also apply to expensive perfumes, gourmet foods and indulgent confectionery.

eCommerce marketers can take advantage of this consumer motivation by positioning their products as luxurious and enjoyable. Branding, lifestyle marketing, product imagery and descriptive copy are all key here.

Acceptance

When prospects want to purchase something simply because everyone else is, acceptance is the customer motivation at play. It is usually behind fleeting fads and trends.

To reach consumers who don’t want to miss out on the next big thing, marketers should use influencer marketing and native content campaigns. This is an important purchase motivation for the fashion, toy, fitness and beauty industries.

Aspiration

Many shoppers buy products that align with their personal ambitions and desires for self-improvement. They may aspire to be stronger, smarter, richer or more successful.

If you think your audience is motivated by aspiration, highlight how your products can help them. Engage them with resources that will help them achieve their goals and highlight your product’s role in that journey.

Alternatively, you can collaborate with influencers and celebrities to show people that, by using your products, they can be like someone they admire.

Fear

There is no doubt that fear is a powerful motivator in all aspects of life – and this is no different when it comes to making a purchase. While you should avoid scare tactics, you can stress how your products address common fears.

This is a highly relevant buyer motivator for brands that sell vehicles, home security systems, children’s products and equipment for use in the workplace. If your products help users adhere to laws, safety standards or social norms in any way, fear can be a motivator too.

Health

Consumers are happy to invest in products that can protect or improve their wellbeing. With the rise of global wellness culture and the pandemic making people more health-conscious than ever before, this is an important purchase motivation.

In a recent survey, 42% of consumers said that wellness was a top priority for them. So if your products are beneficial to people’s wellbeing in any way, be sure to let them know.

Impulse

Impulse purchases don’t require much thought or consideration. That’s why marketers need to create a sense of excitement, urgency and FOMO to encourage shoppers to act quickly.

Marketers can take advantage of this buyer motive with flash sales, limited edition products and ‘while supplies last’ offers.

Financial gain

The potential to save or make money can provide strong purchase motivation for both B2B and B2C customers, so be sure to demonstrate why your products make good investments.

Many D2C brands highlight how cutting out the middleman saves shoppers money. Dollar Shave Club’s no-nonsense launch campaign did just this by pleading with viewers to “stop paying for shave tech you don’t need”.

If this is among your audience’s buyer motives, case studies, testimonials and price comparisons will be important for your eCommerce marketing.

 

How to determine buyer motivation

It’s easy to determine customer motivation by examining your store’s internal data. Here’s what you need to know.

Look at your customer personas

With a little common sense, you can use your personas to pinpoint or rule out buyer motives.

For personas on a budget, pleasure and acceptance probably won’t be as important as need or financial gain. Fear may drive the likes of parents, businesses and workers to make a purchase, whereas older audiences are likely to be motivated by health concerns.

Gather further insights

You can delve further into buyer motives by running surveys, monitoring feedback, conducting interviews, performing competitor analysis and other kinds of market research.

Analyse or A/B test marketing messages which tap into different buyer motives to see which receive the most engagement. You can also check out the pages your visitors view most.

It’s a good idea to engage with your support agents to find out what customers say about your products too. The questions they ask before conversion can be particularly helpful for determining pre-purchase motivations.

Take advantage of tech tools

Your eCommerce brand can leverage advanced analytics and machine learning to accurately identify important demographics and consumer behaviour, which can then be used to supercharge customer personas and buyer motives.

A Digital Shelf monitoring tool allows you to analyse reviews across your entire sales network in an effort to understand why past customers bought your products. Tracking keyword phrases related to your brand and products can also highlight your audience’s motives.

 

Tips to leverage buyer motivation

Armed with knowledge of what motivates your customers, your team can create content that will speak directly to their needs. Here are three ways to capitalise on this:

1. Tailor your content

Different personas are likely to have different buyer motives. But you can tailor your messages to each one with some simple eCommerce personalisation.

Based on the product chosen or the marketing message clicked, you can present shoppers with custom landing pages, promotions, pop-ups, cross merchandising messages and content suggestions.

2. Create urgency at checkout

We already touched on how flash sales and limited offers can boost impulse purchases. But marketers can also use the checkout experience to motivate prospects to act fast.

Let shoppers know when an item in their cart is running low and implement countdown timers to communicate when sales end, offers expire or delivery deadlines approach. One study indicates that this can increase conversions by 9%.

3. Link savings and sustainability

It’s not only budget brands that can provide consumers with financial gains. High-end merchants are also tapping into this buyer motivation by highlighting how their products save money in the long-term.

The North Face, JanSport, Zippo, Skullcandy and DeWalt all offer lifetime warranties, while brands like LG and Miele work hard to highlight how much their energy efficient appliances can save consumers.

With sustainable eCommerce being a huge trend right now, showcasing your green credentials will also tap into motivations around acceptance and aspiration. In fact, recent research shows that 41% of consumers seek out brands with strong environmental values.

Final thoughts

By defining buyer motives using the eight categories listed above, it becomes easier to segment and target your audience in a meaningful and engaging way. That’s why this is an essential exercise for every eCommerce marketing team.