The kids are loving summer vacation right now, but those fun days fade fast. Before you know it, the lucrative Back to School shopping season will be here. According to the National Retail Federation, last year shoppers spent an average of $630 per child, with the majority of that money going to apparel, footwear, supplies and technology.
Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re getting your share of those sales:
Understand Who Your Customer Is
While Mom or Dad might be the one with the credit card, the truth is that if the kid doesn’t like it, the parents aren’t going to buy. Make sure you can articulate the benefits and appeal of your offerings on the student’s level as well as the parents’. A seven-year old will not care if a backpack is well made, but they will want to know it features their favorite YouTube star and has an easy-access pocket for their phone.
Emphasize Value Over Price
This year’s Back to School shopping season is happening during a period of heightened economic uncertainty. Shoppers may feel moderately secure now, but they have concerns about what’s going to happen after the Presidential election and the Brexit situation resolves. Sales techniques that emphasize value are powerful in this climate. Try bundling: parents respond well to the idea they can get an entire outfit or all of their children’s school supplies with a single purchase.
Make Moments Count
Google has been tracking the impact of micro-moments: those occasions when a shopper becomes aware of a need and can take immediate action to fill it. Back to School shopping follows the same paradigm we see during the holidays: customers go online in brief bursts to do targeted shopping for a specific item. Coupon codes and promotional posts on social media or via email or text message can prompt a micro-moment. Identify those items that tend to get forgotten, such as gym sneakers or replacement phone chargers and create ad campaigns around them in addition to your perpetual best sellers – the revenue boost can be deeply satisfying.
Service is the Game Changer
Big box retailers can offer unbelievably low prices, but the shopping experience is why Moms constitute the fastest-growing demographic of wine drinkers. Nobody wants to go elbow to elbow in crowded aisles in search of index cards and highlighters. Think about what you can do to make life easier for your customers. Order online, pick up in store is an incredibly powerful tool and something every retailer should be able to offer. Take things one step further: have customers snap a picture of their shopping lists and text it to your team, so they can gather all of these items and have them conveniently available for purchase when your customer arrives in the store.
Begin Your Creative Process Now
If you haven’t already begun planning your Back to School sales and promotions, the time to do so is now. Collecting and creating the assets to be used on your website, social media and print advertising takes some time. Preparing those materials now means you’ll be ready to connect with every Back to School shopper, from the early birds who can’t wait to get the kids back to class to the last-minute procrastinators. Tailor offers for each audience to boost sales, making it easy for your customers to share of coupon codes and other promotions. Done right, it’s an easy A – and great for your bottom line.