Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Back-to-School Shopping Begins Early for eTailers

This week marks the end of the school year for many. It also marks the beginning of back-to-school preparation for online retailers. Too soon? Maybe not. Consumer trends from 2013 indicate that many Americans begin searching for back-to-school deals as early as June and begin purchasing in July.

While the average consumer conducts back-to-school shopping August through September, many savvy shoppers begin comparison shopping early for a reason - new merchandise, early bird promotions and shipping deals.

When these individuals begin planning, they're looking to save three things: Time, Money, and Sanity. Here are a few ways to help them do that (while helping yourselves):

  • To stop price shoppers from veering away from your site, offer a "Price Match Guarantee" from other large competitors. 
  • Create a back-to-school promotional page on your site, organizing everything into one place. Be sure to extend your promotions across all channels (social media, email marketing, brochure, etc.). 
  • Have a local school supply sheet available onsite and be sure to highlight those items that you have available. 
  • Implement "similar items" to cross-sell your products. If someone's searching for crayons, they're going to need a sharpener. 
  • Optimize SEO. Because consumers use search engines as their starting point, be sure your SEO strategy is up-to-date, using keywords that consumers are likely searching for (tablets, used textbooks, oxford polos, etc.). 
  • Because shipping, tracking and returns are important to consumers shopping online, be sure to offer discounts on shipping, free return shipping and order tracking on all purchases.

Last, but certainly not least, display your ratings and reviews proudly and strive for excellence in your customer service. Research shows that consumers are worth nearly ten times as much as their first purchase. Providing a superior experience is essential to ensure repeat business and customer referrals.

by Samantha Warner
Marketing Extraordinaire