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Marketing to Back-to-School Shoppers: 5 Considerations

Students are still on summer vacation, but retailers are already planning for the back-to-school shopping season.

It’s the second largest consumer-spending period for retailers behind the winter holidays, and a huge opportunity for marketers to increase brand awareness and expand their customer base. Average back-to-school spending has continued to increase every year. The average American with kids in grades K-12 shelled out approximately $688 during the last back-to-school season, up from $603 in 2011.

Here are 5 facts you need to know about the typical back-to-school shopper so you can make your school-themed marketing campaigns better than ever.

1. Timing is everything
Did you know the timing of back-to-school spending varies by product type? Shoppers often buy office supplies at the beginning of the spending holiday and then clothing in late August and September during the start of the school year – after kids see what their peers are wearing to school.

Also, back-to-school purchasing started in July last year, earlier than usual. Marketers should keep this purchase timing in mind in 2013, offering relevant products when their target market is buying.

seasonal marketing

2. Tech has changed shopping habits
More than ever, families – especially moms – are browsing and buying online. Online searches including back-to-school-related words increased significantly from 2011 to 2012.

Expect your customers to browse and purchase online. Make your campaigns mobile-friendly, and lead your fans to mobile-optimized websites so their shopping experiences are as seamless as possible. Last year, 40-50% of moms purchased apparel, books and electronics from a tablet.

back-to-school marketing strategy

3. Everyone’s searching for good deals.
When shoppers make big purchases, they want big discounts. Nobody wants to break the bank before the school year begins!

Give your customers what they want. Run contests with compelling rewards, and create look books of affordable back-to-school products. Offer coupons, discounts, free shipping, and other exclusives to get your fans to buy more. They are sure to tell their friends about their savings.

word of mouth marketing

4. Kids influence purchase decisions
It’s not only adult shoppers who are getting savvier. Moms with kids between the ages of 6 and 17 are highly influenced by their offspring.

Marketers need to not only appeal to parents, but also to their kiddos. Run campaigns geared towards students so they ask for your products by name.

social media marketing

5. A good review goes a long way
During back-to-school season, shoppers are likely to see products and special offers on social networks and then talk about them with their friends. Reward moms for reviewing your products and sharing their reviews with friends. Moms trust other moms; encourage those moms to trust your brand.

bigstock-Mother-and-daudhter-talking-on-44918860 copy

So, it’s time to get started. Get in the back-to-school groove and create campaigns that matter.

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