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Back to School Sales Tips


July is almost over, which means parents are ready to send their kids back to school and retailers are busy getting ready for those back-to-school sales.

Did you know back to school spending was expected to reach $68 billion in sales in 2015?

These are just a few businesses that stand to benefit from back to school sales and that can increase their visibility with these advertising tips during back to school sales.

  • Clothing retail stores
    • 28% of parents who participated in a National Retail Federation Survey said their kids have school uniforms. It was the highest percentage in the survey’s history, meaning stores have to work harder on back to school clothing sales
  • Office/school supply stores
    • The same survey said families planned to spend an average of $94.72 on notebooks, pencils, backpacks, etc.
  • Grocery stores
    • Lunchboxes are included in those school supplies and parents need something to fill those lunchboxes with.
  • Electronic and technology stores
    • Calculators aren’t the only piece of technology kids are using at school anymore. Some schools will provide tablets and computers but college students need their own and wearable technology has also become popular.
  • Barbers/hair salons
    • Back to school means school pictures aren’t far off. Time for a new hairstyle or a fresh haircut.

Simple advertising to highlight sales and remind parents that you have products and/or services that kids of any age need to before heading back to school in a few short weeks. A survey by The National Retail Federation 2015 said they expected most back to school shopping to be done by August 19.

Simple signage: Retailers are always ahead of the curve when it comes to the next big sale. Aisle displays and front wall displays are easy places to start placing back to school items. Hit customers with sidewalk signs, banners and window advertising that school is fast approaching and that you have sales on all the essentials kids need.

Update graphics and information on signage: This is just as simple as promotional signage to get in front of customers before they really start planning on buying for back to school items. Take the time to update existing signage with fresh, colorful graphics along with any new or extended hours and promoting key items or sales on items that you will have in the coming weeks when back to school shopping gets hot.

Utilize online sales: According to the National Retail Federation, half of online back-to-college shoppers planned to use ship-to-store or in-store pickup on their purchases. Offer discounts for buying online or deals on shipping to help attract more consumers to this method.

Go mobile: Parents of kids in school probably aren’t using their smart phones to play Pokemon but they could be using it for couponing or anyway to save money during this expensive shopping season. 31% of college shoppers buy products on their phone according to the NRF. Encourage them to interact with your store’s brand on apps and your mobile site via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Swarm and other apps they can check in on. Offering deals through those platforms can help increase brand visibility and loyalty.

Point-of-purchase displays: Building strongly promoted sales displays for key items as big as tablets and smart phones to things as small as pens and notebooks. Table top signs with colorful graphics in the sightlines of shopping showcasing deals using buzz word sales like “Buy One Get One Free/Half Off” or “Two For (a slight price break on the second)” can help these products fly off the shelves.

Get involved with local schools: Many teachers send their back to school lists directly to some stores to have on hand when shoppers show up. In the digital/email age that may seem a bit unnecessary but it used to beat mailing to houses. But a lot of schools/teachers send their lists to specific stores because those businesses are offering lower prices on certain items or have a partnership giving back to school or communities.

Creative promotions: Bundle items in sales like “buy two t-shirts get one free” or discounts on expensive items required by schools. This is a good time to encourage people to sign up for rewards or customer loyalty programs. Offer discounts or free shipping by asking people to download your app or use the mobile site.

Community involvement: If you’re able to, offering a percentage of sales from the back to school sales period back to the school district or city can harbor good will, possible tax breaks and gain you some brand loyalty.

Teachers shop too: Teachers are always spending money on school supplies for their own lessons and to help supplement student supplies. If you’re a store that sells school supplies, a teacher’s rewards program could really be helpful to them and encourage them to make your store their go-to whenever they need to replenish their stock. Teachers also back-to-school shop for clothes and need haircuts, so teacher reward programs for those businesses could also be a hit!