We all remember the excitement (or dread, in some cases) of going back to school. For those of you with children, this is still something you have to deal with.
It’s an exciting time for many, especially those of you who run an eCommerce store.
In fact, this year it’s predicted $27.6 billion will be spent on products during this time. That’s a lot of money. Money you probably want to get your hands on.
For many children, especially younger ones, when it comes to buying their back to school equipment, they prefer to do it in store. They like to look at the item they’re going to buy, check the color of the pencil case is just right and make sure they’ve perused all the sticker options.
This makes it more difficult for online retailers to compete, however, it’s not impossible.
In this post, we’re going to look at a range of different back-to-school tactics you can employ into your own marketing arsenal to make sure you dominate your competition and sales.
Let’s dive in!
People are actively seeking out back-to-school deals
Everyone loves a deal, this is especially true during the back-to-school period. Parents of multiple children will also be looking for specific deals to reduce the money they need to spend during this peak season.
But just because parents are looking for deals, doesn’t mean you need to lower your prices dramatically. In fact, with the right deals in place and the proper marketing to support it, you can actually increase your prices during this period and still generate lots of profit.
One of the best ways to highlight your deals is to segment your products by audience.
Amazon has a landing page specifically for back-to-school shoppers to browse.
You’ll see that the categories are organized by grade groups. You can assume that a five-year-old is likely to want different products than a 15-year-old.
Back-to-school deals also give you a brilliant opportunity to bundle many of your products together. We’ve already established that many shoppers prefer to shop in the store.
This is especially true when buyers are looking for specific individual items. Perhaps they only need one or two things and so it makes sense to buy it in store.
However, if you can promote your products towards the group of people who are looking to buy a wide range of things and don’t want the stress of having to pick out individual items, bundling is the way forward.
You’ll see in the image above, parents can buy a range of different products all at the same. It saves them not only time but the hassle of trying to shop in a crowded store.
So if you want to excel with these deals, make it easy for parents to conduct their research. You can do this through recommendations for other similar products on your product pages, or perhaps showcase new, exciting products on social media.
Start early or offer fast, free shipping
In an ideal world, you’ll start your back-to-school campaigns as early as possible. This way you can target those shoppers who want to get it sorted early so they no longer have to think about it during summer. Remember, although the users of the products are the students, in most cases, it’s the parents who are making the purchase decisions.
However, if you are entering the market later, don’t worry as there is still an opportunity for you to dominate the market.
If you haven’t yet started your campaign, a good strategy is to target the shoppers who also are late to buy products.
Offering free shipping will be a life-saver for people who have left buying their supplies until the last minute.
You can also slightly increase your prices to account for the cost of shipping the items. It might not make sense for you to offer free shipping all throughout the year, especially if it will hurt your overall profit margins. However, it can be lucrative to offer it at specific peak times to encourage shoppers to spend more. If you cannot afford to offer free shipping, experiment with other options.
UK-based retailer, Argos doesn’t offer free shipping but allows their customers to pay slightly more to get their deliveries the same day.
Offers like this will fill your shopper’s heads with confidence that you care as much as them about getting their school supplies in time for the new academic year.
Don’t neglect the omnichannel experience
Some products are nice-to-haves and some products are essential. The back-to-school category is just that. You don’t need to convince someone they should buy back-to-school supplies. They know that they should already. What you do need to do, however, is convince them that they should buy from you. One of the most effective ways to do that is by offering an omnichannel experience.
You don’t know if your shoppers would prefer to buy from social media, or your website, therefore it’s imperative you make sure your products can be found wherever they are when they’re ready to buy.
Don’t just use a range of platforms to sell your products, but use a range to market them too.
Rymans, use their Instagram to showcase the products they have on offer. Their products are available to buy both in-store and online. Showing products visually like this offers customers a chance to see the different types of things they might like to buy.
It helps pique curiosity and ensures people remember you when it comes to making a purchase.
You’ll also want to make sure your online experience on mobiles and tablets is good. The number of people who buy items straight from their phones has increased in recent years and failing to provide customers with a good mobile experience means you’ll be leaving money and profit on the table.
Analyze your competition
Finally, you should, as always analyze both your competitor’s current prices and historical prices to make sure the prices you’ve specified is in line with what customers are happy to pay.
When you have access to this data you can use it to fuel your various marketing campaigns.
Data-driven marketing will give you a competitive advantage over your customers and evoke a sense of customer loyalty in so far as your new customers feel as though you truly understand their wants and needs.
Studying your competition will give you an insight as to what tactics they’re employing during this peak season as well as what you could improve on.
Use a price-tracking tool to help you acquire this data and analyze which products were top-performers in previous years and what marketing techniques you can employ to ensure they perform even better this year.
A new academic year is exciting for retailers, parents and students. However, like any peak pricing strategy, you need to make sure you have planned how to make your back-to-school approach most effective.
In this post, we’ve looked at why you should scream and shout about the deals you offer, start your campaign early and offer incentives like free shipping, ensure you don’t neglect the omnichannel element of selling your back-to-school items and above all else, analyze your competitors current and historic pricing strategies to ensure you stay ahead of the competition.
If you prepare ahead of time and ensure you provide each and every visitor with a good customer experience on your site, you’re sure to see both your sales and your profits increase.
What are you waiting for? The school bell is about to ring!