Back-to-school spending for eCommerce is expected to be 53% higher in 2021 than it was in 2019. Retailers who prepare for that opportunity now will reap the reward of sales and revenue.
Online spending to jump for back-to-school
A 5.5% bump over 2020 in retail sales in the United States in the back-to-school period spanning July 15 through September 6 back-to-school period compared to 2020 is predicted by Mastercard SpendingPulse™.
“This back-to-school season will be defined by choice as online sales remain robust, brick and mortar browsing regains momentum and strong promotions help retailers compete for shoppers’ wallets,” declared Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Sadove explained why he expects eCommerce to continue to gain market share: “We’ve seen eCommerce go from 12 percent of retail to close to 20 percent of retail. And what’s happening is that despite the opening of more stores [amid vaccine rollouts], you’re seeing a continued momentum on the eCommerce side of the business.”
In fact, CNBC estimates that eCommerce sale “will be 53% higher than the back-to-school season in 2019.” To make the most of this opportunity to increase sales, follow these five steps:
1. Prepare early
While we associate back-to-school with the end of the summer, in many places it happens ahead of Labor Day. As reported by
Pew Research in many parts of the country, students go back to school in August, and in some even as early as the third week of July.
You can gain a competitive advantage over those retailers that wait on back-to-school promotions until August by setting up your seasonal collections and landing pages earlier. According to Statista, 9% of back-to-school consumers start their shopping in July.
2. Segment your lists
If you tap into Remarkety’s data on your customer location and their purchase history, you’ll be able to tailor your message more effectively through segmentation.
For example, you can send emails or SMS messages out to the ones who live in the southern regions of the United States earlier than to those in the northern parts because the return to school can be more than a month earlier in the south than it is in the north.
Draw on the data that will inform them what type of communication will resonate with this particular customer in terms of age bracket, household, and budget. This makes your messaging far more relevant and personalized than a one-size-fits-all marketing message.
3. Know what’s driving purchase decisions.
Like customers in general, those shopping for school needs are very price-driven. That remains the primary consideration for 82%, according to Deloitte. To target these customers, offer promotions and coupons.
Price is alway a top concern, but convenience is a very close second. It’s cited by 80%. Concerns about the right product are right behind that, referenced by 70%.
Assure your customers you can deliver on all three, and encourage them to take advantage of eCommerce convenience by ordering early to be sure they get exactly what they need on time.
4. Be a helpful resource
This is an opportunity to serve as a resource to help your customers get what they need and offer organizing tips.
You can draw on your own data here by letting new college students know what college students usually order from you and offer them recommendations for both individual products and bundles of things that go together — like accessories for the computer or all the items needed to make a dorm room like home.
While general tips and lists can be good, personalized ones are even better. Remarkety makes it easy to automate.
Your customer’s purchase history reveals what they bought last year. That can let you know which personalized recommendations are likely to be on target and prompt more sales.
5. Plan a series of targeted messages
As back-to-school shopping often involves a number of steps as parents focus on what they need for different kids at different stages of education, plan for a series of messages using both email and SMS if your customers are subscribed to both channels.
Use pictures of your products and school-themed illustrations to let customers know at a glance what the promotion is about. If you use MMS, you can include pictures with your text messages, which makes them more effective than words alone.
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The beginning of summer is the time to think ahead and plan for a successful back-to-school season. With Remarkety, you can be certain your marketing campaign will yield results.