Back-to-school – the three words that will make middle school kids cry and the retailers sweat. That’s right – the second biggest shopping season of the year is right now and it is heating up. Every year more than $70 billion of merchandise is sold as part of back-to-school drive and around one third of it is online. This is a sizable amount of revenues.
The one major difference between Back-to-school and Christmas is that shoppers are way more price sensitive and not willing to open their wallets as much as during “the holidays”. According to a National Retail Foundation survey – more than 45% of shoppers indicated that coupons influenced where they planned to shop for back-to-school. Another survey by Thomson Reuters and Ipsos discovered that as much as 54% of all parents are influenced by sales and special offers and the second biggest influencer at 48% was teachers’ recommendations.
So how can a retailer take advantage of this opportunity with e-commerce tools? First and foremost – there needs to be a plan that takes into consideration the opportunity, addresses the customer needs and delivers the products they are looking for in an easy-to-find, easy-to-buy format. Here are some helpful tips on what should be part of this plan.
Develop Omni-channel Promotions
As many parents will tell you – despite the many advantages of online shopping – sometimes for back-to-school it’s just more convenient to go and get it done in the brick-and-mortar store. There are checklists, size changes and the mentality to “just pick a day and get it done.”
So as a retailer – create promotions that work across channels. If the customer prefers to go to the physical store – give them an incentive. Check that the store locator on your site is up-to-date and make sure that your map can dynamically update to display the store closest to the customer. If your platform makes it easy to offer features like Buy Online – Return In Store – this is a great time of the year to promote it.
Build Traffic With Campaigns and Convert With Campaign Landing Pages
Let’s say as a retailer you are using paid search to educate shoppers about the category deals you are offering. One option would be to just point the search results to your category page. Or you could take advantage of this opportunity and try to learn as much as possible about your customers. Build a Campaign Landing page that collects data about the visitors. If you offered a reward for repeat or returning visitors – the numbers of those who are willing to give their personal details will jump. Then using the segmentation tools of your e-commerce platform you should collect data about your shoppers and use this segmentation to drive more traffic, repeat business and conversions.
Kids have three priorities during back-to-school shopping and they are clothes, clothes and clothes. As many parents know – looking good in the classroom is very important.
As we all know “Looking good” is a fluid concept and in that regard kids influence each other a lot. How do they do that? Social networks of course. After Facebook, the most popular networks that have the potential to affect sales are Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat each with their specific rules for marketing and advertising. Which means there are many ways to spread the word and reach wider audiences.
Last But Not Least – What’s Important to All Online Shoppers
This post is first in a series of strategies, tips and techniques we will discuss and share in order to better prepare the online merchant for the upcoming shopping seasons. Please make sure to check back soon.