Back to School: Bummer for Kids, Great for You.

Monday, August 4th, 2014
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Does the phrase ‘Back to School’ dredge up memories of tests, mean teachers, homework, bad cafeteria food, and worst all, the end of summer? If so, it’s time to cheer up. As an online merchant, that term should have you out of your seat with joy. According to experts, the back to school shopping season is second only to the winter holidays in spending. So, rather than cringe at the expression, it’s time to embrace it and collect your share of the estimated $72.5 billion on back to school spending this year.

Even with the current economic climate and considering the rising cost of college for those with older children, shoppers are expected to spend 16% more than last year on back to school supplies. However, don’t let these lofty expectations fool you; it is a very competitive time of year, so here are a few pointers to get started.

Incentives: Online shoppers are cost conscious, especially parents with large families. The more competitive your prices, the more likely prospective customers will buy from you. Consider a ‘Back to School’ coupon or discount initiative with price tiers and dynamic cart messaging: to encourage larger order totals. The same can be done for shipping. You might even explore the idea of a social sale to give shoppers incentives to spread the word to friends and other families or even kick it up a notch and use a program like Referral Candy to really get the message across: Subscriptions are also a great way to entice customers with price breaks on products when ordered on a recurring basis (think desk supplies that arrive monthly).

Marketing: Quality products: Check. Competitive prices: Check. Discount incentives: Check. Now it’s time to spread the word (and enable your customers to spread the word). If you haven’t by now, then you’re way past due on activating sharing tools through social media. Offering Facebook Like, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tell A Friend options at the product level empowers your customers to network on your behalf. Similarly, post-order sharing allows buyers to publish their recent purchase on social media for all their friends and followers to see. Email blasts with coupons and others offerings as well as your own social media campaign are efficient and cost effective ways to communicate deals with existing customers. As merchants often do during more traditional holiday seasons, consider creating a category specifically geared toward back to school products and link right to it from your homepage as well as some featured products front and center. For many parents, back to school shopping has already begun, so it’s never too soon to pack up the leftover fireworks and capitalize on this huge, annual opportunity.

Nexternal clients can activate social sharing buttons in the Settings>Compatible Software section of their Order Management System. For advice on Dynamic Cart Messaging, Bulk Emailing, Subscriptions or other featured covered above, please reach your dedicated account manager.

Chris is a Senior Account Executive at Nexternal and has been with the company since 2005. Before joining Nexternal he worked in the cloud-based educational software industry. Chris enjoys establishing new relationships with online merchants and working closely with those clients as they grow.