How to Profit From Back-to-School Season

Author: Rieva Lesonsky | September 6, 2016

It’s no myth—as soon as summer gets underway, consumers are already thinking ahead to their kids going back to school. The good news for retailers? Total back-to-school spending for K­–12 and college students is expected to reach $75.8 billion this year, up from last year’s $68 billion, according to the annual National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. With an improving economy, back-to-school spenders are planning to stock up rather than just make do, as in past, less prosperous years. The NRF expects retailers to capitalize on consumers’ good mood by offering great deals both in stores and online.

Most consumers (50.9 percent) still shop at least a month before school starts, and 22.2 percent plan to start at least 2 months ahead of school (in other words, by the time you read this, they’re out shopping). If your business doesn’t specifically sell to the school market, you can still take advantage of the back-to-school spending spree by using the following marketing ideas.

  1. Not your father’s back-to-school specials

    Any business can discount products and/or services and call it a back-to-school special. As students and parents across the country shop for school supplies such as computers, clothes, and paper goods, promote your own product and services as a back-to-school special—and be sure to use popular back-to-school keywords such as “back-to-school ideas”, “back-to-school supplies”, and “school supply list” in your ads. You can also use those keywords in your online service description such as “Go Back to School with a Computer Tune-up!”

  2. Give away premiums

    Marketing your business means getting your company name out there. Consider ordering student- or teacher-friendly giveaways like pencils, laptop bags, and highlighters with your business logo, name, and website printed on the products.

  3. Social media promotions

    Join the back-to-school conversation on your social media platforms. Include posts and promotions that appeal to fans of local college or high school sports teams. Ask students and parents to post their best photos of the first day of school and/or their favorite teachers.

  4. Celebrate with an end-of-summer promotion

    “Say Goodbye to Summer” or “Endless Summer Savings” will capture consumer and client attention. If your office has an outdoor area, throw a small open house/back-to-school event and serve summer refreshments like iced tea and lemonade.

  5. Get a jump on holiday promotions

    Consumers know the holidays are just around the corner and may appreciate your ideas for holiday gifts for their school-aged students. You can also take pre-orders so consumers have one less thing to think about before the holiday season sets in. Some customers may already be stocking up for the holidays, so take advantage of these early birds’ budgets and give discounts for early orders.

  6. Give back

    Back-to-school season is a great time to donate products and services to your local schools. Offer your employees as computer lab volunteers, contribute to the PTA, or donate new school equipment or supplies. You could even talk to school administrators and parents to see where the greatest needs are, then adopt a school to really make a difference.

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