It’s nearly the end of July and the autumn season will start coming back soon. Along with autumn, kids are going to be back to school very soon. The back-to-school event is one of the biggest opportunities for retailers out there to increase sales. Since parents tend to spend a lot on this occasion for their kids, I’m not just saying that without any evidence.
Back-to-School 2022 Sales Forecast
According to a press release from MasterCard, in 2022, back-to-school retail sales in the U.S. is predicted to increase by 7.5% compared to last year. Steve Sadove – MasterCard’s senior advisor – stated that this back-to-school event was the second biggest season for retailers. He mentioned that it was often looked at as an early indicator of retail momentum ahead of the traditional holiday season.
Furthermore, as demonstrated in the Back-to-School 2019 survey by National Retail Federation (U.S.), families will spend close to $700 on average for supplies, clothing, shoes, and tech to prepare for their kids. As a result, it was expected that the total spending of families for K-12 and college combined reached over $80 billion U.S. dollars.
Crazy, right? That is why I said that this is a huge opportunity for retailers, all merchants should prepare for this event. But it goes to another question: What should you prepare?
Don’t you worry, I can help to give you some tips on implementing promotional strategies for back-to-school. Of course, it’s based on my experiences and research.
Now, let’s dive in!
Shopping channels and popular shopping items to increase sales for Back-to-School
As mentioned in SalesFuel’s report, retail sales were expected to grow across all channels (physical in-store, online store, social media, etc.) in this back-to-school season. In-store sales are expected to grow by 8.2%, and e‑commerce sales are potentially increased by 4.3%. Regarding product sectors, it is estimated by MasterCard to see the most year-over-year growth this season. The most popular item category includes Electronics and Appliances (expected to grow by 17.6% compared to last year) and Apparel (expected to increase by 15.9%).
Moreover, 32.6% of consumers in the U.S. are predicted to be over 18 years old – as reported by AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. In addition to Electronics, Appliances, and Apparel, this consumer group plans to purchase:
- Body Spray or Cologne: 26.4%
- Smartphones or Smartphone Upgrades: 25.7%
- Cosmetics and Skin Care Products: 24.6%
- Laptops or Desktop Computers: 19.5%
- Jewelry: 17.3%
Increase sales for Back-to-School event
According to an article by U.S. News, although this is a good opportunity for retailers to increase their sales, it was claimed that families also want to save money in order to cut down their budget for back-to-school purchases. Especially when inflation is rising around the world. That is why you can use this information to your advantage. Starting with launching campaigns that will make consumers feel like they are saving a huge amount of money while purchasing everything they need. I will recommend to you some of the promotional campaigns that you can launch regarding this one goal.
Buy One Get One – BOGO
Buy one get one (BOGO) is one of the most favorite promotional campaigns for this kind of event. During this event, parents will need to buy school supplies, which include a lot of different items like notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, etc. to prepare for their kids. But, school supplies, sooner or later, will be used off. So a deal for parents to buy one get one, or buy x get y is ideal for them to purchase without any hesitation.
And, if you want to cross-sell other items as well, like giving a discount for 5 pencils with every purchase of 10 notebooks, that will be a great deal for them as well. Using the Buy X Get Y type of promotion, you can upsell or cross-sell as you like. And trust me, it will work. Because nothing is better than buying all the required items at a cheaper price.
Not just school supplies, you can use this campaign for almost anything. An example from the store “Two Little Birds” is in the image above. Two Little Birds sells products in the niche of children’s apparel. Near the back-to-school event, this store has started a campaign allowing customers to purchase shorts and tops. In return, they will give customers a 50% discount for any next item of shorts or tops.
Seems to me it’s very intriguing for parents isn’t it?
Limited Discounts – Flash Sale
Another promotion type that you can try is launching a discount campaign for a limited time. In terms of purchasing things that will be beneficial for kids, parents won’t be too harsh on the price. But a limited discount can motivate them to check out their order sooner, and create scarcity to make your items and your store stand out. Imagine if you have an item that is very rare and can only be bought in your store, and it’s also helpful for students once they return to class. I bet no parents would say no to an item like that, especially with a limited deal ongoing.
Proof has also shown that consumers make quicker decisions regarding purchases when there’s a sale discount on-going and it has a time limit. As a result, it will surely help in increasing sales.
Not just bluffing, let’s take a look at School Maskpack. To strengthen the discount deals, this store uses a countdown timer to hurry customers to check out so they won’t miss the deal. Do you notice that little adjustments to your store combined with a suitable promotion campaign can be this impactful?
One of the best promotion types is definitely giving free gifts. By giving away free items, you can deliver a positive feeling towards your customers whenever they reach a condition to receive a gift from you for free. Mostly, the condition would be the best in terms of the cart value threshold. That means customers can get a free item whenever their cart subtotal fulfills a condition of a threshold.
Oopsy Daisies is a store providing school supplies in vintage style. Currently, it’s almost the end of July but this store has already run a campaign to give customers a free gift with every purchase over £40 (40 GDP). It’s actually a beneficial deal for customers. As you can see in the image above, customers only need to buy 1 satchel, he or she has already received a free gift from the store.
One more add-up value for you, this type of campaign can also help you to clear out your inventory by giving away items that aren’t worth running advertisements or marketing campaigns for. That’s much more convenient, right?
Another popular promotional type that you can try is Bundle. In definition, a bundle is similar to selling a combo of items that are related to each other. To create a bundle, you should think about the products in your store that can be beneficial to your customers. The products in a bundle should relate to each other, or it should help to emphasize the highlighted features of each other.
For example, assuming I’m selling kids’ apparel. So once the new school year starts, of course, parents will buy their kids new clothes. Now, let’s answer this question: Can we also sell other items with the clothes like backpacks or shoes? The answer is yes, it’s definitely possible. The Fancy Fluff store in the image above is a great example of this use case. In order to upsell their items, Fancy Fluff allows customers to create a bundle of backpacks, small bags, snack box sets, drink bottles, and notebooks.
A good practice of bundles is that it helps our customers to clear their thoughts and drive their attention to the items that will be beneficial to them and also useful when used together. That is why, if you use a bundle, it will be much more convenient for the parents who are preparing their kids for back to school.
Pretty cool, right? This bundle promotion type will be a good tactic to increase sales for the back-to-school event.
But let’s move on to the next promotion type because the next one should be the most popular one amongst all promotion types.
No need to question more about what the most popular promotion is. It’s surely free shipping because out of 30 stores that I have looked up for research purposes for this article, I’ve seen more than 15 stores running a free shipping deal. That’s more than 50% in general. The reason why free shipping is so popular is that it’s attractive to customers.
According to the VWO eCommerce survey, roughly 30% of online shopping carts were abandoned because of unexpected shipping costs. This result means that if there was a free shipping deal on the store at the moment customers would abandon their cart, then the store can reduce 30% of abandoned carts, and increase by 30% of the sales. To be honest with my dear e-com fellows out there, 30% is not a small number.
Let’s take a look at Rustico. Rustico is selling stationery with books and journals in vintage style. And as you can see in the above screenshot I took, on their store banner, besides the 10% discount code, the store also includes a deal of free shipping along. The strategy of this store, in my opinion, is to prevent abandoned carts as I mentioned above, when customers go to checkout and see the shipping cost. Because they want their discount campaign to fully succeed, and to avoid the 30% of cart abandonment. They put in the effort to also launch a free shipping deal along with the discount campaign.
So that’s why free shipping is the most popular promotion type because it truly makes a difference in the sales result of an online store.
Campaigns for Educators
Finally, don’t just think about families and parents are only the targeted audience that you need to go after. Remember that educators are also one audience group that will make an impact on this social event back-to-school. And for this audience group, they also have what they need and things they want to purchase at an affordable price. So don’t forget to launch promotional campaigns as well for educators. You can separate the campaigns, combine them, or run multiple campaigns at the same time, that would be up to you. Neither way you choose, you can also seek out help by using apps like DISCOS.
Shopify Apps that you can use to increase sales for back-to-school campaigns
This app called DISCOS allows you to create multiple types of promotional campaigns including BOGO (Buy One Get One), Flash Sale, and Free Gift. The great thing about it is that it has multiple promotion types in one app. And it’s totally free for use at the moment since the app is newly launched early this summer. It’s a good app and there is always more room for a fresh new and good product don’t you think?
Rating: 5.0/5 stars – Pricing: Free
This app from Essentials allows you to create a stylish countdown timer quickly. The app contains multiple pre-made countdown timers so you can quickly choose a style template that you like, and set up the timer quickly on your store. Et voilà, a flash sale campaign is on and going for your store.
Rating: 5.0 /5 stars – Pricing: Free
Last but not least, if you need an app to automatically generate bulk discount codes to launch a basic discount campaign, then AVADA is where you should head to. This app is perfect for using only discount codes to launch promotion campaigns and it was highly rated by worldwide Shopify merchants.
Rating: 5.0 /5 stars – Pricing: Free
Creating a bundle of products is never easier. This app has a lot of options to help you set up your bundle. It covers lots of different use cases so it will definitely fulfill your requirements.
Rating: 4.8 /5 stars – Pricing: $12.49/month
If you wonder how to launch a free shipping deal then one of the things you shouldn’t miss for this type of promotion is an announcement bar. This app allows you to create a free shipping bar quickly and easily. Free shipping will be automatically discounted for your customers, which helps to lessen the steps customers need to take, which means a higher chance for customers to check out their cart quickly.
Rating: 4.9 /5 stars – Pricing: $9.99/month (Free plan available)
I hope the information in this article is clear enough for you to decide what you need to do to turn back-to-school 2022 into a huge sales success. And that’s all I have for you today.
I wish you a blossom sales campaign and I’ll see you again soon. Toodaloos!