School is in Session: Effective Tips on Marketing for Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-School season is upon us and make no mistake — as somber as that fact is for students, the season itself offers a potential $82.8B for the taking and marketers everywhere are scrambling to prepare for their share of the back-to-school (B2S) and back-to-college (B2C) revenue.

To help you get an A+ during back to school season (aka the second biggest shopping event of the year), we’ve compiled some data insights and helpful tips to keep your cash register busy and your business top of mind.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

The National Retail Federation has released their annual survey on K-12 through college spending and combined with Deloitte’s release of their sixth-annual back-to-college survey; the data paints a compelling picture in the area the back-to-school opportunities.

The numbers are flat over 2017, but there is still a mouth-watering estimate of $1,330 spend per household available in the B2C sphere and $685 spend per household in the elementary through high school B2S category. While the competition from e-commerce is fierce, parents plan to increase in-store spend to 54% (up from 49% in 2017) which means there are significant opportunities for local retailers.

Will This Be on the Test?

50% of all back-to-school shopping is likely to take place in the one-month period of late July to early August, so if you haven’t started your back-to-school campaign it’s not too late! We highly recommend reviewing the NRF and Deloitte studies to determine how the data affects your industry vertical.

TL;DR — Do You Have the Cliff Notes?

Take our advice and don't reinvent the wheel - just realign it, instead. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the resources already available and leverage those channels to your benefit.

Along with the data insights we shared earlier, has a solid, thought-out article on how to effectively position your retail business for this season's back-to-school event and bolster sales through relevancy, value, and engagement.

Of all the data we've reviewed, we've included two specific points below that we believe are key takeaways from today's lessons.

• Start Your Marketing Plans Early

While most parents wait until the start of school to get supplies, early shoppers plan to spend 35%, equivalent to $377, more than those who start later in the season. Make the most of this opportunity and start planning your campaign as far out as possible to capitalize on those extra dollars. If you’re an online retailer that wants to compete for share, advertise deep discounts in the weeks leading up to school starting — this offers the parents steep savings with enough time for items to be shipped and received.

• Effectively Market to Both Parents and Students

Savings and value are what parents are looking for but remember to use captivating product images that also showcase the aspect that students enjoy, such as stationary or clothing with their favorite characters or brands. Over 80% of parents plan to collaborate with their students on budgeting and shopping for back-to-school so the importance of this step cannot be over-emphasized.

Your Move, Chief

We’ve offered several pointers to help you capitalize on this year’s back to school season. Now we’d like to hear from you. How will you engage parents and students who are stocking up for the upcoming school year? Let us know by tweeting at us or by dropping us a line on Facebook!

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