Unlock Your Retail Business’ Potential with these Back to School Promotion Tips
It’s almost that time of the year again, which means the back to school shopping craze is upon us. Nothing gets students of all ages excited for a new school year like a shopping trip to pick up fresh supplies, and nothing gets parents excited like a great deal.
As we get closer to the back to school shopping season, your retail business needs to create unique promotions and deals to attract more customers.
Here are a few back-to-school promotions you can use in your retail store to help boost sales this time of the year.
Types of Back to School Promotions to Offer
Whether you sell clothes, accessories, or classroom school supplies, deciding on the right promotional ideas is the first piece of the puzzle. Here are a few ideas to get the inspirational juices flowing.
- Free shipping
- Promotional codes
- Loyal customer discounts and presale offers
- Labor Day weekend sale
- Last chance summer sale
High shipping costs are sometimes a big reason why people try to avoid online shopping altogether. In addition to a brick-and-mortar store, if you have an online store or resell your goods on a third-party platform like Amazon, you can offer a limited-time free shipping special. Offering free shipping as a back to school deal will incentivize people to complete their purchases instead of leaving items in the shopping cart.
Continuing with e-commerce ideas, you can create digital promotional codes or coupons. Customers can use them to deduct a certain percentage off of a single item or the total cost in their shopping cart.
For stores that are solely brick-and-mortar, you can do the same and make a game out of it. For example, you can get scratch-off cards that reveal a percent off or dollar amount discount that the customer can use towards their purchase. You can offer these codes to everyone, or a specific demographic of shoppers such as loyal customers and first-time customers.
What better way to thank your loyal customers than to offer them exclusive discounts and offers? Exclusive deals are a great way to show customers how thankful you are for their loyalty and continuous support of your business.
Labor Day weekend sales are popular for all kinds of businesses. From restaurants and retail shops to car dealerships and wireless phone carriers. All types of companies want to get in on the last push before the holidays. Long weekends give people more of an excuse to shop, especially if there are deals too good to pass up.
Even after Labor Day, you can have a final “last chance” sale to get rid of your excess summer inventory while the weather is still summer-like. This type of promotion is a smart way to avoid losing money on inventory you didn’t sell during the prime summer months.
Once you decide on what type of promotions to offer, you can use your retail POS system to easily set up, manage, and track the success of your campaigns.
Everybody loves to get involved with their favorite brands — especially if there’s a discount or prize incentive attached. Hosting contests that target a wide variety of ages is the perfect way to get your customers involved while simultaneously increasing your brand awareness.
Contests That Target Parents of School-aged Children
As you’re brainstorming contest ideas for school-aged children, it’s necessary to create something that will also appeal to their parents. After all, they’re the ones scouring the internet for the best deals and spending money in stores.
For example, you can ask kids to draw their favorite thing about school. Then, urge their parents to upload a photo on social media with a unique hashtag for a chance to win a prize or special deal of your choosing. Not only does this activity entertain kids for 10 – 30 minutes, but it gives the parents a chance to save some cash — a win for everybody.
Contests That Target College Students
On the other end of the student spectrum, you have college-bound teenagers and young adults that may make up a portion of your customer base too. Since tuition for higher education is at an all-time high, anyone headed off to college will be frugal. Why not be the silver lining of savings during this financially trying time?
Marketing to college students is different from younger school-aged children. While some may still need their parents’ money and permission to buy products, it’s not the case for all of them.
College students influence purchasing decisions with the power of their smartphones. Use this to your advantage. Create hashtags and other social media contests to encourage students to share how they use your products in college life for a chance to win a gift. You can also create a gallery of the best photos to showcase on your social platforms to produce even more brand recognition.
Enhance Your Online Presence
Do you want to engage even more customers and drive more sales? Enhancing your online presence by tailoring your digital content to go hand-in-hand with your promotions is a sure-shot way to make this happen.
Create Content to Cater to Your Audience
If you’re using social media to market your brand (and by now you should be), make sure you create relevant content that your audience will want to share. While you want your fans to be aware of exclusive deals, you don’t want to overwhelm them with back-to-back ads. Instead, mix in content that is also useful and valuable to them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Back to school shopping lists
- College shopping lists
- School year wardrobe inspiration
- Back to school preparation checklist
- Dorm decor or studying space inspiration
- DIY projects for dorm decorating
- Room organization tips
- Tips for back to school success
Add an Online Store on Social Media Platforms
To make things even easier for your customers to buy your products, why not add a shopping cart directly to your social media accounts? Many businesses already use their Facebook pages to promote their items and sales. Therefore, it makes sense to add a feature that makes it easier for your customers to purchase your products.
Pinterest is such a visual-dependent site, so it’s the perfect place to showcase your back to school products. You can show off the latest trends in a creative way, and use platforms such as Rich Pins and Shop the Look Pins to streamline the purchasing process. Rich Pins allows you to put the price and availability of the product directly into the pin itself. You can use Buyable Pins to add purchasing links to your pins so shoppers can buy directly from Pinterest — without ever having to leave the app or website.
The Benefit of Instagram Stories
There are countless opportunities to display your back to school deals with Instagram’s story feature. By using the story feature can you show off the new trends and add a “swipe up” call-to-action to prompt your customers to buy the products on sale. Make sure you make the instructions minimal and include quality photos of the products.
Another way you can enhance your online presence during the back to school season is by emailing your customers. For customers who don’t use social media often or might not be apart of the social networking community at all, this works out perfectly. A brief email with a coupon code and a link to your online store (if you have one) will have customers coming through your doors. Not only will it prompt more customers to shop your sales in-store, but it will also drive more traffic to your website.
Keep These Seasonal Products in Mind
Back to school shoppers are usually looking for pretty specific items to cross off their checklists. This includes (but isn’t always limited to) fall-related clothing items, school supplies, and dorm supplies. If your retail store sells any of these items, you’re in luck. Here are some specific products that your customers will likely purchase:
- Phone cases
- Pens, pencils, and other school supplies
- Storage bins/units
- Laptops, laptop bags, and cases
- Hoodies or jackets
- Jeans or leggings
Show the Teachers Some Love Too
Offering discounts and deals to educators lets them know that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. More often than not, teachers have to pay out of their pocket for a good chunk of their classroom essentials. Use this opportunity to help them stretch their hard-earned dollars a little further as they prepare for the upcoming school year. In addition to offering the usual discounts on classroom supplies, consider offering a variety of “just because” discounts for teachers only.
Presents to educators such as calendars or lesson plan templates are budget-friendly gifts that can go a long way in exciting teachers, because who doesn’t like free things?
Don’t Forget About Mom Bloggers
Mom bloggers are the perfect group of opinion leaders to connect with to spread the word of your upcoming promotions with their followers. Think about it, most parents take their kids back to school shopping, and a significant percentage look at online reviews before making a purchase.
Even some college students go shopping with their parents to get the best deals on small appliances and other dorm-related products. This is why it’s important to reach out to mom bloggers because their opinions of your store could heavily impact the number of customers you see in the back to school shopping season.
The first step to connecting with mom bloggers is finding the right fit for your brand. You want to do your research to find someone who shares your values and will align with your brand’s goals and key messages.
Using influencer tools such as Peg, Reachbird, and Upfluence can help you find relevant influencers and run more successful campaigns for your promotions. These types of platforms also allow you to do new things such as content planning, strategy development tactics, and data analysis.
You also have to keep in mind that some mom bloggers will review your products for free (if you send them your products free of charge). On the other hand, some may require monetary compensation for their time spent reviewing your products.
To Wrap Up
Nobody can turn down a great deal, especially when it’s time to go back to school, and the list of needs is pages long. These back to school promotion ideas will get customers excited to shop at your store, but we’ve just begun to scratch the surface on all the possibilities. Use these ideas to get your creative juices flowing to develop your unique promotions for your retail business.