August carries a mix of emotions for those affected by the back-to-school season. Children lament the end of summer break, while parents can’t wait to get back into the routine they’ve mastered for nine months out of the year. Even happier than parents, however, are retail stores and brands who see a huge increase in sales leading up to, and during the month of August.
According to Pandora Advertising, back-to-school is one of the largest retail occasions of the year, second only to the Christmas and Winter Holiday season in terms of foot traffic and sales. Based on research performed by the National Retail Federation, total back-to-school spending for kindergarten to post-secondary families is expected to reach $75.8 billion dollars this year in the United States alone. This proves a massive sales opportunity for brands carrying the popular back-to-school items such as clothing, school/office supplies, small electronics and more.
What about brands who don’t carry such items? There’s still a way to capitalize on the back-to-school season with products that aren’t traditionally purchased with school in mind. It all comes down to who you want to target and how you will do so.
Since most students, perhaps excluding kindergarten and younger grades, have access to the Internet, it’s important for brands to advertise their products online. Maybe you don’t sell backpacks or jeans, but you can advertise what you do sell through the channels most used by students, and in a way that frames the product as a back-to-school essential. If students think your candles will look nice on their desk and help them concentrate while they study, they may just pick one up. Deloitte’s Back-to-School Survey 2016 finds that 61% of consumers research products online before they make an in-store purchase, so online presence is a must.
While students may purchase items based more on their “wants,” parents are typically all about the “needs.” Traditional school supplies may be difficult to beat for these buyers, but framing products used by parents in a back-to-school way may increase the chances of a purchase during this time. Take cleaning products for instance; back-to-school means more early morning breakfasts and night-time lunch preparation, which could lead more to spills in the kitchen – meaning parents should stock up on their preferred products now before they run into any messy situations.
According to Deloitte, more than two-thirds of parents say their spending is influenced more by teacher recommendations than by their children’s requests. This means that targeting teachers and schools as influencers opens up your product to a wider audience, just like that. Classroom items are often overshadowed by the focus on students and parents during the back-to-school season, but there are often many products teachers purchase themselves that aren’t distributed by the school. Board games aren’t typical back-to-school products, but work great as an indoor recess activity a teacher could pick up before the school year starts.
All it takes is a little creativity to see how your brand can make the most of the back-to-school spending season. Chances are you have a product or service that can be used year-round or by a wide variety of consumers, but tweaking your marketing strategy in order to adapt to the season is a great skill that could end with greater sales.