It’s hard to believe but we are smack-dab in the middle of that time of year again. It seems like summer break gets shorter and shorter every year, and in a retail sense, it is. According to the National Retail Federation, “24 percent of consumers with children in grades K-12 last year said they began shopping for school items at least two months before school started.” You could potentially miss out on a fourth of your sales simply because you were not ready for the early birds. That’s where we come in: we’ve put together all of the meaningful statistics and all of the tips you need in order to capitalize on the remainder of this BTS season.
What Do You Have & Do They Need It?
You first need to ask yourself what kind products you sell. You’re probably thinking this is a stupid question because you obviously know what type of products your brand sells. What we mean is, what type of products do you sell that would be useful to a student heading back to school? This may not be very important to a large department store that sells a bit of everything such as Walmart, but this could make or break a small retailer’s BTS season success. Say you’re a small jewelry and accessories store in a college town. What do you have that students may want for back to school? Most of the time students aren’t looking for jewelry when heading back to school. But, maybe you have iPhone cases that everyone seems to love? Ask yourself the proposed question for both scenarios:
What do you have? Jewelry. Do they need it? No. But what about iPhone cases? What do you have? Trendy iPhone cases. Do they need it? Yes. In fact, NRF states that college students and their parents plan to spend an average of $243.79 on electronics. If the small jewelry store pushes their iPhone cases at the right time, they can get a piece of the BTS pie that they could have missed out on otherwise.
Know What They’re Buying
In order to push the right products at the right times, you have to know what students are buying. We put this second because the two go hand in hand, but we felt it is important to know what kind of store you have, THEN figure out what you sell that students want to buy. You can find the complete list of statistics here
Once you know what students are buying, you can push those products in effective ways. Whether it’s sales, unique displays, or other various means of promotion. Just as long as you present the wanted items in an intriguing manner.
Understanding what students are buying and pushing the products that fall into those categories are fine and dandy, as long as the customers are aware. In order to be successful, you must reach the customer. The good news is that this is one of the easiest things to do, especially when marketing to Millennials. The younger generations are very hip on the latest social media and online trends, making them accessible without much effort.
This is also your chance to be creative and set yourself apart from all of the rest. Whether you have an extremely unique product, or one that 20 other stores sell, a unique and effective campaign will bring the customers through your door.
Some brands have already come up with some clever ways to use social media in order to promote their back to school products. Lowe’s has created a series of Vine videos titled: “Fix-in-six.” Nordstrom has created a microsite using Instagram.
Back to school retailing is really no different than retailing any other time, except at a magnified level. It’s all about finding those certain products that students are looking for, and letting them know that you have it. And since we are dealing with youth, creativity and innovation go a long way.