Easy Back-to-School Marketing Tips for Small Retailers

Easy Back-to-School Marketing Tips for Small Retailers

August 9, 2019 Off By Koehler Home Decor

For online retailers, it’s time to ramp up your back-to-school promotions, as parents and kids are actively on the lookout for great products to make the new school year more efficient, exciting and memorable.

Back-to-school Shopping Trends

The back-to-school shopping season is a big deal.  

In preparation for back to school, 29 million households across the United States spent a total of $27.6 billion in 2018. Another active segment during the month of August were back-to-college shoppers, who spent around $54.1 billion.

Combined, school and college students purchased products worth $81.7 billion, which makes the back-to-school season the second-biggest shopping occasion after the big holiday shopping season.

What do people buy?

Elementary, high school and college-age kids have different back-to-school needs.

Back-to-school shoppers are mostly interested in clothing and school supplies (like books and clothing), while college kids – or their parents at least – typically spend more on electronics, gadgets and dorm room gear. 


Source: Deloitte

Where Are People Back to School Shopping?

According to the National Retail Federation, most back-to-school and back-to-college shopping takes place at big box department stores. The second most popular way to get school-related products is online. 

Speaking of shopping online, back to school shoppers still favor desktop (53%) over mobile (46%). However, mobile comes first when users want to gather information about the products before making their purchases. 


Back-to-School Marketing Ideas

Now that you know what to expect from the back-to-school crowd, here are simple marketing tactics to make the most of this time of the year. 

A Back-to-School Sale

Back-to-school shopping can be overwhelming for several reasons. Not only do the parents have a lot of boxes to tick off their shopping list, but they also have to decide which brands are worth their time and money.

With this in mind, create a back-to-school sale that is clear and easy to take advantage of.  

Decide what type of offers you can present to your audience. If you’re short on ideas for back-to-school promotions, here are a few to help you get started:

  • $ discount
  • 2 for 1 
  • free shipping
  • flash sale
  • week-long sales event
  • giveaway
  • contest
  • promo code
  • loyal customer discount
  • loyal customer pre-sale

Ramp up Your Social Media Postings

You’ll need to let everyone know about your back-to-school offers. The obvious way to do this is through social media—23% of shoppers say they’ll use it to plan their purchases. 


Source: Deloitte

Share your deal on social media to get the word out. Use paid posts on Facebook to reach a wider audience. You can even consider running a social media contest or giveaway to drum up extra interest as well.

Make Use of Email Marketing

Let your email list know about your back to school promotion, too; they’ll appreciate the heads-up!

Don’t send just one email campaign though —everyone, including you, will forget about it. Schedule a few emails with copy and subject line variations, and repromote them to recipients who didn’t open your email the first time. 

Partner with Influencers

A great way to promote your products to a wider audience is to partner with an influencer. An endorsement from a respected member of the community can go a long way—68% of customers trust the opinions of other online shoppers

Back-to-school season is an ideal time to partner up with family-oriented influencers. You’ll have to do your research to find an influencer whose audience would be interested in your products. This is critical because you don’t want to waste your time and money going after a lead that won’t work.

You can try making use of one of these tools to help connect with the right person:

7. Create valuable content for your target audience

In addition to showcasing your products, you can create helpful content for your target audience. This helps humanize your brand, and as we know, online shoppers are more likely to trust brands they connect with emotionally.

Share ideas on how to get the kids ready for a new school year. It can be anything from school outfits to lunch box recipes, and tips on how to overcome shyness. 

If you’re trying to reach college goers, cover topics that can help to prepare for life on campus, like decorating their dorm room or making new friends.

A few more content ideas you can experiment with: 

  • Back-to-school shopping list
  • Back-to-school outfits
  • School lunch ideas
  • Dorm decor inspiration
  • Room organization tips
  • After-school activities
  • Fun DIY projects
  • Time management tips
  • Meal prep tips

While some topics might not be directly related to your store, writing about them can help you connect with your target audience. Remember, the more valuable the content, the more readers will visit your website and engage with it.

It’s fine to include shoutouts to your products in your think-piece or the content you share, but don’t overdo it. 

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