How to Convert More Back-to-School Shoppers

By Rob Zaleski
Aug 8, 2019

The back-to-school season is set to break records again this year. Shoppers, from younger kids to college students, from parents to teachers, are ready to spend. This year, the NRF estimates back-to-college spending alone will account for an astounding $54.5 billion. There are plenty of opportunities to capitalize on those who already plan to shop online. You should also try to convert the 71% of people who plan to shop in-store or haven’t decided where they’re shopping this year. Let’s look at some ways you can use your marketing channels to convert shoppers this year and capture more back-to-school sales.

Using Your Online Channels

If you don’t have a physical store, you don’t want to miss out on the 59% of people who say they plan to shop in-store for back-to-school purchases. That means you’ll need to fire up your other marketing channels to drive customers to your website.

Use your social channels and consider running online and social ads to reach customers. Focus on specific offers and create eye-catching visuals to grab customers’ attention in their feeds and searches. Create a sense of urgency with limited-time offers and compelling language.

As an online seller, your ad and website copy should over-emphasize the convenience of not having to fight crowds, how easy ordering and shipping right to their door can be, and try to minimize the elements that cause people to abandon carts. Make sure your campaigns and website are mobile-friendly, as many people are shopping on-the-go and even comparing prices from in the store.

Where you should really focus your efforts, however, is your email list.

Segment and Score Big

Take the below email from Academy Sports as an example. They know student athletes are a major demographic for them. They also sell some regular clothing and sports-branded clothing. So focusing on a mixture of the two is a great marketing message to feature prominently. They use a compelling image to gain attention. Then they use the messaging of a “guide” to sound useful and encourage you to click. What parent shopping for their student athlete wouldn’t like a little guidance on what to buy?

The email also features a sale in bright colors with a bold headline to garner attention. Nearly 40% of shoppers say their decision of where to purchase for back-to-school shopping is based on promotions, so make sure yours isn’t a footnote in an email.

back-to-school shoppers email campaign Academy Outdoors

Also, did you know that, on average, dads spend $115 more on back-to-school shopping? Numbers like that can add to your bottom line quickly, so consider focusing some of your back-to-school email marketing messages at the dads who are knocking out those lists. This could be through featuring dear ol’ dad prominently in some of your images or doing your best to segment your audience and focus your messaging on a demographic of middle-to-late-aged males.

Focus Last-Minute Deals on College Students

Your back-to-school offers should not end abruptly once school is back in session. This is a mistake many retailers make as they begin looking forward to holiday planning and Q4 prep. Remember this: many kids get lists of supplies and necessary purchases once school starts. College students, in particular, are most likely to be shopping in September, as the below graphic points out. You could decide to extend sales to those last-minute shoppers with urgent messaging like “Just got that teacher’s list?” or “Procrastinate on your back-to-college shopping?” You can use your preheader text (the preview text that shows up after a subject line in most email clients) to further explain any specials or what you’re offering.

Courtesy of: The Shelf

Don’t Forget Teachers

There is always plenty of focus on parents and students, but don’t forget that teachers will be shopping for classroom decor, organizational necessities, spare supplies for students, and maybe some more non-traditional items like relaxation acoutrements, or on-the-go necessities. Playing to this segment is a huge opportunity to increase your sales and get in good with teachers (being teacher’s pet always pays off).

Read more: Turn back-to-school shoppers into repeat customers

While teachers are likely going to be a more difficult list segmentation, you may still try to target them through relevant messaging in standalone emails or as part of other back-to-school campaigns. Make them feel heard, understood, and recognized and you can increase sales with this often-neglected segment. Dedicate part of your email template just to them and let them know you haven’t forgotten about their needs. Depending on how likely you feel your audience may include teachers, you can move that section further up or down in the template. This is super easy in ShippingEasy’s drag-and-drop template builder.

ShippingEasy helps you efficiently create campaigns to segmented audiences with beautiful emails that help you convert back-to-school shoppers. Try our platform, which includes Customer Marketing complete with regular and automated email campaigns that build new and repeat business. Click below to get started before the busy Q4 starts!

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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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