Why this Back-to-School Season is Huge for eCommerce

By Rob Zaleski
Jul 21, 2017
shippingeasy back to school webinar

This year is going to be huge for back-to-school eCommerce shopping. Total combined spending is expected to reach $83.6 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over last year’s $75.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. As an eCommerce seller, you should be getting a piece of that spending pie. As a matter of fact, we held a free webinar on that very topic to help eCommerce sellers like you prepare!

So, why is back-to-school such a big deal this year, and what trends should you be aware of?

With consumer confidence rising and more young people in school, back-to-college spending is expected to hit an all-time high this year while back-to-school spending is expected to see its second-highest spending level on record.

—National Retail Federation

Back-to-school eCommerce shoppers will be mobile

Having a mobile-friendly site has become more than just a luxury for businesses. It is an absolute necessity. With the spending power and influence firmly in the hands of a mobile-first generation of younger people, you don’t want a lagging or non-optimized site losing you business.

If you’re not using a platform that provides a mobile-first experience, it’s time to have a serious conversation with your web development person or team. Test your site on different mobile devices to see how it performs. Use different browsers. Make sure that links and calls to action are tap friendly, with thumb-friendly button placement, as opposed to tiny embedded links on your home page. A non-optimized site could lose you nearly half (45% on mobile and 43% on tablet) of your potential buyers

back to school ecommerce Deloitte survey

Riding the bus right along with mobile is having a solid digital presence. As you can see in the graphic below, Deloitte reports that a quarter of shoppers plan to use social media for transactional purposes and to find coupons or deals. Your social presence should mirror your website and email promotions to feel like a cohesive brand experience and drive shoppers to purchase.

To help with that, we’re providing some social-friendly graphics to all who register for our free upcoming webinar, so you can spotlight any specials you may be running. You’ll be able to save the images to your computer, then use them in your promotional campaigns for back to school!

back to school ecommerce Deloite key findings

Shipping preferences are key

Let’s address the elephant in the classroom—Amazon has changed everyone’s perspective when it comes to shipping. Many people will be enticed by an offer of free shipping. NRF says nearly 9 in 10 people, whereas Deloitte reports 68%. Regardless, that’s a lot of people.

back to school ecommerce NRF survey

You’ll want to offer some sort of free shipping to compete, but obviously don’t want to lose too much on that offer. By finding the best way to ship your products, you can minimize the loss on offering free shipping. ShippingEasy’s platform offers rate comparisons that allow you to choose the optimal means of sending packages depending on weight, dimensions, and location.

It’s not too late to be part of a huge shopping season, and we’re here to help you make it happen.

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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