When my kids were younger, back to school shopping was big. I mean REALLY big. Whether it was supplies and clothes in grade school; technology and clothes in high school or dorm decor and clothes for college, shopping didn’t come cheap. It was expected that shiny new notebooks and brand new sneakers were the order of the day. It’s no different today.
However, in spite of what the media says about the uptick in the economy, families are struggling. Today’s back-to-school consumers are looking for bargains. In addition, they’re looking for those bargains online.
According to Crowdtap, almost a third of US adults said they would use Pinterest to not only choose their purchases but organize them as well. Are your back-to-school pins up to date? Remember, the best way to use Pinterest is for selling the vision, not necessarily the product. Show clothing with accessories; display apartment or dorm-size furniture and make sure you tie them with current trends for fashion and design.
Heyo suggests running a Facebook or Twitter contest to get potential shoppers interested in your shop. Do a “Memories of Summer” photo or video contest; run a hashtag campaign or create a back to school trivia game. Give shoppers an extra reason to pay attention with fun prizes like local school merchandise coupled with items from your store.
For researching products and bargains, mobile will be used by nearly a third of all back to school shoppers. A recent study suggests 60% of parents will be doing some shopping on their mobile phones. Mobile shopping is especially strong with the younger generations which represents parents of younger grade school and middle school students. This means your online marketing efforts such as email need to be optimized for mobile. I always suggest using an email provider such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or iContact. They offer templates already optimized for mobile marketing.
As I’ve already mentioned, Pinterest will be the go-to place for back to school shoppers and interestingly, 92% of Pinterest users view pins on their mobile phones.
Let’s face it, back to school shopping is an event and an outing with the kids doesn’t happen online. Don’t let all the talk about the growth of ecommerce and mcommerce (mobile) keep you from enticing customers into your shop. Encourage shoppers with fun contests. Create a “Mom needs a time out” night for busy Moms who are shopping for their kids. Have a fashion show for high school or college age girls. Furniture shops should be highlighting their smaller items, especially those with a vintage vibe. If you’re in a college town, consider a “Decorate the Dorm” night and have on hand a variety of funky lighting fixtures, pictures, side chairs and tables.