What Does Back-to-School Marketing Look Like in 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is still casting a cloud over everyday life and we have entered the uncharted territory as the society approaches back to school season.
The plans for sending kids back to school is still swinging back & forth due to the constant rise in the number of cases each day. This uncertainty has affected the lives of teachers, students & parents in ways beyond measure. One more section of the society facing a heavy economical loss is that of retailers.
For retailers involved in sales of school supplies, the back-to-school shopping season has always been a major source of revenue but this year is going to look a lot different as the requirement, the supplies, the deliverability, everything seems uncertain.
So what should the retailers expect for 2020 back-to-school shopping? What marketing strategies should be adapted to curtail the negative impact of coronavirus on school supply sales.
A few tactics to be steady in the competition, meet the demands of the user without any compromise on sales revenue
1. Lower Investment in Paid Marketing
As families remain unsure of how and when the school season will start, most of the brands have pulled off paid marketing campaigns. Research and surveys have already shown a drop of 50% in paid marketing campaigns
Now retailers should be looking towards promotion through resources available at a fairly lower cost like-
Regular engagement on social media channels.
email marketing to generate brand awareness and maintain user engagement. You may automate the email campaigns with efficient software to use resources in enlarging the business.
tele-calling once customer’s contact details are gathered
The conversation should be such that shows concern towards customer safety and why online shopping is a better option.
Note: Before using email marketing or tele-calling as a source of communication, ensure the contact details are valid, by using an email verifier/ phone number validator, to avoid wastage of resources.
2. Simpler Online Availability
School supply shopping lists typically involve a lot of items that are generally ordered in bulk due to their lower cost-value. Pen, pencil, eraser, markers, notebooks, etc are easier to purchase in a physical store, just grab, put it in the cart, pay, and done.
Buying these items online isn’t that simple.
The first issue may look petty but actually plays a good role in customer retention, is hunting down the material to be purchased. Among so many small value things, leaving out some is very common.
Secondly, keeping a track of what is already in the cart and what is left isn’t easy
Here a retailer has to work towards making the online experience easier by adding features like bundles of frequently needed products, a combination of products generally needed together, front-page showcases, collection pages grouping, etc.
The task is not limited to making online ordering easier as another hurdle to be crossed is shipping on time and in good condition.
Paying for shipping on a large household item is digestible, but shipping charges for petty items might not go well with the buyers. Help shoppers overcome this roadblock by giving offers on shipping like no shipping if the minimum amount purchased is $X, or charge shipping according to the weight of the luggage or distance.
3. Teaming up with Mom Bloggers or Influencers
At such crucial times, parents are not really sure where to spend and how much to spend. Everyone is looking for constant advice. This is where the influencers and mom bloggers can play a major role in highlighting the goodness and feasibility of your products.
Instead of trying out something new, parents are ready to go with a product that is tried, tested, and recommended even if it costs a bit more.
4. Focus On Products that Serve a Higher Value
School apparel, clothing & accessories have played a major role in back-to-school shopping to date accounting for more than 58% of the revenue.
This year, maximum regions are conducting classes online and this tradition may go on for a while which means retailers can’t rely on apparel-driven profits.
It’s time for the retailers to focus on other essential classroom supplies which can improve the learning experience. To name a few -calculators, tablets, headphones, etc. Including hand sanitizer, masks, books related to safety from COVID-19 can give a good start.
5. Well-Planned Offers & Discounts
Price is the most important factor that influences the purchase decision and a retailer needs to capitalize on the same by offering competitive discounts which can be
Percentage based discounts
Which type of discount to be offered on which product requires good decision making as research shows per-cent based discounts work best on products of a lower price (approx $100), while money-based discounts work best for products above $100. Using scratch cards or discount coupons redeemable on the next purchase offers more sales. Section of ‘recommended products’ or ‘best-sellers’ on the product page captures new customers and makes the current ones more aware. The complimentary add-on offers during checkout can increase the average cart size!
6. Conveying a Message
It’s been months that everyone is living under some or the other kind of stress. It may be unprecedented levels of juggling between work & home, economical uncertainty, loans, debts, food insecurity, etc. At such times win the attention of the stressed users by giving out messages of strength, how to fight back, and also how your products can add convenience in their life. Craft messaging not only makes a product look beautiful but also adds a touch of personalization. Add messages that convey how you are there to make life easier which can be in any form like
Mobile shopping apps
Pre-selected Supply bundles
Curb-side pick-up etc
Messaging on the products talking about fighting COVID with strength can also motivate people and let you get an edge over the competitor.
7. ‘Word-of-Mouth’ In The Form Of Reviews
As mentioned earlier, blogs and influencers can play a major role in attracting more users. Similarly, the experience of current users can add even better value.
Ask the current users to share their thoughts on shopping experience with, the quality of the product, the decent prices, or how you are a better option than others. Make such reviews live with the product being talked about.
With reviews attached to the products, the parents will not think twice about purchasing them.
Surveys also play an equally important role in understanding the behavior of the user and estimating their future needs. Create automated surveys to capture the feedback of every buyer.
These were several pointers from my side to help you capitalize on this year’s back to school season. I would like to hear from you about the strategies you have followed in engaging parents and students who are stocking up for the upcoming school year?