Back-to-School 2017: Your Digital Marketing Study Guide

July 19, 2017

Digital Marketing Brittney Procopio By Brittney Procopio

School’s recently released their students and faculty after a long year of learning, and summer fun has finally gotten into full swing — yet we’re already talking about back-to-school shopping. The sunburns haven’t even healed yet and we’re planning for the new school year. Don’t let the summer crowds at the beach fool you; moms and dads are already getting their back-to-school lists and looking for the best deals before the new school year starts.

The back-to-school “holiday” starts in late June and goes through August, which means we’re right in the thick of it. According to eMarketer, 2017 is projected to see strong overall year-over-year growth with an anticipated 4.0% overall retail growth. E-commerce sales are projected to jump 14.8%!

So how are you going to get moms and dads to shop on your site? Let’s chat about five key strategies to help you capture the back-to-school traffic on your site.

Optimize Mobile Strategy

  • Geotargeting — If you have brick-and-mortar locations, geotargeting is another way to boost foot traffic to your store through shopping and search campaigns. You can set up bid modifiers to target relevant ads when shoppers are in close proximity of your store.
  • Speed — According to a 2017 back-to-school survey by Deloitte, mobile represented 49% of back-to-school e-commerce traffic last year. Google offers a free tool to check your mobile site speed and provides recommendations on ways to optimize your mobile site. This is a great tool to use to get you ready for the back-to-school season push.
  • Checkout — Consumers abandon carts for all types of reasons, and mobile is no exception. Consumers are looking for frictionless transactions on mobile that mirror their desktop experience. Nearly one-third of US parents make a back-to-school purchase via a smartphone, and one-quarter use their phones to research or compare prices of such purchases. Make sure your checkout is optimized to ensure you keep the sale.  

Download our eBook: How to Leverage Mobile for E-Commerce Success

Maximize ROI

  • Increase Bids on Top Performers — Top performers can often be predicted by analyzing data from the previous year. By increasing bids on top performers, you can use past data as a baseline to make informed decisions on products that you know are most likely to convert.
  • Focus on Remarketing Strategy — By creating an audience list based on customers who bought products in previous back-to-school seasons, and increasing bids on that audience, you are more likely to receive a conversion. By using similar audiences, you can now reduce your customer acquisition cost by targeting customers similar to those who have previously purchased from you.

Promotional Strategy

  • Make sure you’re offering competitive pricing to shoppers looking for the best deal. Offering special promotions throughout the back-to-school season will help you stay relevant and competitive all season long.
  • Free shipping is a great way to attract thrifty shoppers without cutting into your margins. Deloitte’s study found that 63% of consumers purchase from online retailers who offer free shipping than those retailers who do not. By putting a minimum price threshold in place, you can still offer a great deal but also increase your Average Order Value (AOV) as well.

Download our 2017 Essential E-Commerce Calendar (July – December)

Social Media Strategy

  • Social plays a huge role in a consumer’s path to purchase with  27% of consumers using social media to inform purchase decisions. Visuals play a key role in capturing a shopper’s attention and helping you stand apart from your competition. Make sure you’re using lifestyle images showcasing your product and video’s demonstrating the product in use to effectively capture the consumer’s attention!
  • Audience strategy can be utilized in the social space as well. You can take advantage of  Custom Audiences on Facebook to target your customer base. To expand your reach, use Lookalike Audiences on Facebook to target consumers who are a similar demographic or have similar behaviors to your shoppers.

Download the 2017 Social Commerce Landscape for Sellers eBook

Holiday Testing

  • Finally, use the back-to-school period to test out strategies you can implement during the holiday season (which, like it or not, is just around the corner!). We suggest doing a post-mortem on your back-to-school strategy — evaluating what worked, what didn’t, and what, if any, surprising results were obtained. From there, you can determine which wins you can apply to the holiday 2017 shopping season and what you need to tweak or ditch to minimize losses.  

Use this study guide to set yourself up for success. This is a great time to test your current online retail strategy and, hopefully, get an A+ on your back-to-school season!

This blog post was co-authored by Brittney Procopio and April Trus. They are both Digital Marketing Account Managers at ChannelAdvisor