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Top eCommerce Strategies for a Successful Back-to-School Shopping Season

Back-to-school can be one of the most profitable times of year for eCommerce businesses. Here are the top eCommerce marketing strategies for connecting with shoppers during this busy shopping season.
Jon Cogan
July 6, 2022

Three to four weeks before the start of the school year is one of the busiest shopping seasons. In 2021, total planned back-to-school expenditure in the United States amounted to about 37.1 billion U.S. dollars.

According to a Survey by the National Retail Federation, as of early July more than half (51 percent) of K-12 and college shoppers have begun shopping for the items they will need when classes resume later this year. Last year online shopping remained a top destination for back-to-school shopping with 48 percent of K-12 shoppers and 43 percent of college students shopping online. The top three categories by spend were electronics, clothing and shoes. With that being said, let’s explore the best marketing strategies for preparing your eCommerce business before the season gets underway. 


Develop Promotions and Contests

Discounts and special promotions are a great way to attract consumers to your site over the competition. Offering free shipping is a particularly great motivator for consumers on their path to purchase and discourage cart abandonment.

One tactic commonly used by eCommerce merchants is to offer free shipping after a certain monetary threshold. This is a popular tactic because it increases the average order value by encouraging more spending.

Other commonly used promotional options are, a free gift with purchase or offering discounts on back-to-school items.

Run Promotions on Social Media

Promotions are a great way to gain a competitive advantage, but it is equally as important to inform your target market about your upcoming specials. Developing your marketing strategies approximately two months in advance will give you time to plan and promote your deals. 

One extremely effective way to spread the word about your upcoming promotions is through email marketing. Additionally, social media marketing, like sponsored Instagram ads or Facebook advertising is another avenue to expand your brand awareness and gain new customers.

Look at Last Year’s Data

One of the best predictors for this year’s back-to-school shopping trends is previous year’s trends. You can plan logistical considerations, such as what items you should stock up on and how much revenue to expect, by analyzing data from the previous year.

During popular shopping seasons like back-to-school or BFCM, eCommerce merchants should prepare for a spike in web traffic. Last year’s data can help you determine how much traffic to expect and the best course of action.  


Create a back-to-school Product Page

Creating a seasonal product page will help direct customers to the products they are looking for. You can use an email marketing campaign to promote popular products and link directly to the seasonal product page.


Use Influencer Marketing to Increase Brand Awareness

Influencer marketing is a powerful social media strategy that helps brands reach new audiences via a trusted source. Prior to the start of the back-to-school season, reach out to influencers who have an audience and content that align with your target market. A common tactic used is providing the influencer with a special discount code for their followers as an additional incentive.

Finding and partnering with the right influencers who align with your brand and budget can be difficult.  PR agencies, like CoganPR, can help by providing expertise and leveraging pre-existing relationships with influencers to find the perfect fit based on the goals and budget of your brand.

Encourage Community Involvement

Companies can benefit from embracing community involvement. This allows you to connect with customers beyond selling products and transactions. Community involvement can play a significant role in differentiating brands from the competition. In fact, according to a Forbes article 82% of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when making purchasing decisions.

One example of this type of marketing strategy is Warby Parker’s buy a pair, give a pair program. For every pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased, a pair of glasses is distributed to someone in need via cross-sector partnerships.

Once you have determined the right initiative for your brand, raise awareness and support for it by promoting it to your target market. According to research by University of Alabama’s School of Business, community engagement builds consumer trust and strengthens customers’ loyalty to the brand.


Build Momentum for the Holiday shopping Season

Summer tends to be a slow season for eCommerce merchants. However, once back-to-school season starts, it is also time to start planning and promoting your holiday shopping deals. Slow summer months are a great time to prepare for the busier seasons, back to school is quickly followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays. Use email marketing to keep your customers engaged and up to date with the upcoming specials.

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