To the dismay of kids and the delight of parents, a new school season is rapidly approaching. Shopping for back to school spans from mid-July until the end of September. For retail, back-to-school shopping accounts for 70 percent of Q3 revenue.
Every ecommerce merchant should prepare to take full advantage of this quarter’s shopping influx. Here are 7 promotion tips that all types of merchants can use to make the most out of back-to-school.
1. Know the back-to-school buyers.
Back-to-school shoppers can be bucketed into four groups of buyers: moms, adolescents, college students, and teachers. Moms hold the purse-strings for the majority of children’s back to school shopping, including clothing and supplies. However, after children grow into adolescents, they’re typically left responsible for selecting and purchasing apparel items. Adolescents are searching for the latest trends and fashion styles.
College students have the widest range of back-to-school needs. These young adults are in the market for clothing, electronics, dorm room decor, and school supplies. Last but not least are the teachers. They’re shopping for apparel, classroom items, and supplies.
A recent study revealed that 51 percent of students make more than half of their purchases online. So, ecommerce has a huge opportunity if the target is adolescents and/or college students. Still, if you’re not a purveyor of apparel, home decor, electronics, or school supplies, you should still connect with back-to-school buyers. Engaging with the core buyer types now sets you up for re-engagement when the holiday shopping season arrives.
2. Create back-to-school sections for each buyer (or the buyer you’re targeting) on your website.
When shoppers arrive at your website, the location of back-to-school items should be crystal-clear. If you’re targeting multiple back-to-school buyers, consider creating separate sections for each type. For example, a section dedicated to college students would include housewares and electronics. While a section aimed at moms would include youth apparel items and/or basic school supplies.
Whichever buyer you’re targeting, make sure the products included are relevant, related promotions are also featured, and the back-to-school section is easy to find from your website’s homepage.
3. Optimize shopping for mobile visitors.
During 2017, eMarketer forecasts that 95.1 million Americans ages 14 and older, or 51.2 percent of digital buyers, will make at least one purchase via a smartphone. Consumers are already using smartphones and tablets for both back-to-school shopping and research. Which means that your ecommerce store needs to function beautifully on the small screens of mobile and tablets.
Your website should look beautiful on mobile devices, present content in an easy-to-consume manner, and load said content in a flash. Responsive design and minimal load times are essential to facilitate your customer’s mobile shopping habits.
4. Create useful gated content to collect emails.
Alongside any specials or sales you’re featuring for back-to-school, consider crafting free, educational resources to offer visitors in exchange for their email address. Think about the buyer you’re targeting. For example, moms might be interested in an ebook of healthy sack lunch ideas. If you’re target is college students, you could provide a guide of dorm decorating tips. Get creative with your content ideas and see what resonates with your target buyer, while still accurately representing your company.
5. Make sure your product descriptions are on-point.
Robust product descriptions benefit your customers and your business in a variety of ways. Most obviously, detailed product descriptions help the customer achieve the most accurate representation of the product without actually seeing it in-person. Provide the measurements, material, color options, specifications, care instructions, and all other relevant information. Don’t stop at the copy! Include detailed, multi-view images and/or video to product descriptions to really allow the shopper to enjoy the full experience.
Another reason to love product descriptions is the ability they have in decreasing chargebacks. Many chargeback reason codes represent the situation where a product received by a customer was not the product described by the merchant. If the image on the website shows a blue backpack, and the customer receives a green version, there’s clearly a misrepresentation of the product occurring. If the customer chooses to chargeback the backpack, they’ll win the dispute. The bottom line is to ensure your product descriptions and imagery are accurate and robust.
6. Use remarketing to bring back non-converters.
One of the reasons we love shopping online is the ability to compare prices and offers from dozens of retailers in a short amount of time. Shopping for back-to-school is no different. A consumer will likely visit multiple sites searching for the best deal or a specific product. Stay at the top of these consumers’ minds with remarketing.
With remarketing, display ads are served to users who visited your site and did not convert. There are a ton of ways to use display ads, too. You can serve users with ads that feature the specific product they looked at or placed in their cart. Or, you can simply serve a general ad aimed at keeping your brand at the consumer’s top-of-mind. Remarketing carries with it a relatively high conversion rate, as it targets users with an expressed interest in the products your provide.
7. Encourage online reviews to vet future purchases.
Online reviews are a valuable tool in connecting with back-to-school customers. Even if a customer is completely satisfied, they might not remember to write a review. Which makes it important to provide post-purchase reminders. After a customer leaves a review, whether positive or negative, your company should absolutely respond. According to Google, 83 percent of customers remember reviews that appear in search results. So, a thoughtful response to a review does not go unnoticed. In the case of negative reviews, address the issue without getting defensive. Instead, describe the steps you took to remedy the situation and provide contact information to take the discussion offline.
The next three months will be a whirlwind of back-to-school shoppers and a great primer to a successful holiday season for ecommerce merchants. How are you preparing for the back-to-school rush?