Back to School: Leveraging Non-holiday Shopping Seasons

300px-First_school_dayAll across the globe in recent weeks, students have been returning to school. Retail outlets and online shops have back-to-school sales, lots of money is spent and kids get back in the classroom ready to go. The back-to-school “event” is a unique in that it is an event that draws participation from a wide cross-section of society and wide geographical area for a period of a few weeks. In this regard, back-to-school is one of the largest retail events of the year. In fact, Wal-Mart, Target and other large retailers list the back-to-school season as one of their top non-holiday shopping seasons.

What are some unique ways in which retailers could leverage current online commerce techniques to better attract the back-to-school (or other shopping season) to increase online traffic, conversion and sales? Here are a few quick ideas:

Targeted Social Network Advertising: Advertise on social networks to groups of people who are in a district returning to school. While it would be possible to blanket social networks with advertising during a two month period, conversion rates would likely see an upswing if the ads targeted buyers in a given school area and directed them to savings specific for them. For merchants with brick-and-mortar stores, the added dimension of advertising the proximity of your store is a bonus. Level of difficulty: Easy.

School Branded Merchandise: Offer school spirit-wear for purchase online or at a physical store directed at purchasers in a geographical area. Or take this to the next level, and go online to the school site, find out what supplies they are recommending and offer bundled products that ready a student for school with a single purchase. Level of difficulty: Moderate.

School Event Schedules: As a way to entice buyers to enter your site, offer school event schedules for things like football games, plays, and concerts. Offer the student (and parent) a bonus for trying your site. Level of difficulty: Easy.

Private Events:  Hold Private Event shopping days for specific schools. Advertise on Facebook and allow people to earn discount points by inviting others who eventually make a purchase. If a school allows it, create school branded PER sites that cater to students and parents of a particular school and offer to donate a portion of the proceeds to the PTA or another school affiliated organization. Perhaps consider gamification and offer a set donation to the school in an area that purchases the highest amount from their private event. Level of difficulty: Easy if you have PER capability (if not, what are you waiting for?).

Making the most of the potential online buying power during a non-holiday shopping season is easier than ever thanks to current technologies. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to make the most of your potential during back-to-school and other secondary shopping seasons.

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