- By Colleen McNamara
Pencils! Clothes! iPads! OH MY!
The age-old “Back to School” shopping list never falls short of impressive. As soon as the long days at the beach or cottage fade into cooler August air, like clockwork businesses hang their Back to School sale signs in the window, usually decorated with a few HB pencils and loose leaf.
With the retail world experiencing a significant shift, every opportunity retailers have to bring consumers a great in-store shopping experience provides value (and is enjoyable, no less) is essential.
Make a lasting impression with your Back to School offers this year and see your customers return for Black Friday. Consider it your practice test.
TIP 1: Cater to the Whole Family in Your Digital Strategy
Back to School shopping isn’t just about parents grabbing a load of supplies and calling it a day. Kids and teens have a huge influence on their parents, so make sure you’re marketing campaign speaks to them as well.
Keep these demographics by platform in mind:
- 31% of users on Facebook’s 1.2 billion users are age 35-54
- ⅓ of the Bing Ads audience earns over 100k/year
- 75% of teens use Instagram
- 76% of teens use Snapchat
This data proves that advertising to buyers isn’t the same as speaking to the influencers of the purchase. Make sure your omnichannel strategy has flexible messaging.
For parents, emphasize how much your special offers will please their pocket. For teens, prove why your product is the best — and why it promises to make this school year unforgettable.
TIP 2: Make Everyone — Everyone! — Happy In-Store
Catering to the whole gang doesn’t stop with your digital strategy. Novel in-store experiences are the key differentiating factor among retailers that are thriving and those who are fighting to stay alive. What can you do to win over your customers this year? Here are a few ideas:
- Think of the multi-generational family: do your buyers typically have 1, 2 or 3 kids? Perhaps your store caters to teens, but it’s likely that a little brother or sister will be tagging along. Offer ways to keep them entertained, like face painting or a craft station. Tagging along with the family for a shopping trip isn’t always easy for the young ones — so the longer you can keep them happy, the longer your buyers will be in-store.
- Food and drinks always make people happy: Partner with a go-to local favorite to offer free snacks and beverages for your shoppers. Choosing something that’s on-brand yet local will give you the best of both worlds.
- Remember… “pics or it didn’t happen!” First things first: advertise your brand hashtag in as many digital and physical places as possible (consider having an exclusive back-to-school hashtag for added affect.) In-store, create photo-worthy moments that inspire social sharing. Don’t forget to have a unique Snapchat Geofilter around your stores!
Pro tip: Advertise these cool in-store features on your social channels leading up to your promotional period. Yet another reason to come and visit your locations!
TIP 3: Capitalize on In-Store Opportunities for Reviews
The importance of online reviews for each and every one of your stores cannot be understated. From SEO to brand identity and consumer influence, the benefits your business reap from having authentic, up-to-date and plentiful reviews boils down to one big factor: ROI.
There are several quick hacks you can try that range from ultra practical to a little more sophisticated. If your customer offers their email address at checkout, send an email immediately after they visit, with direct paths to your review sites. You can try having iPads set up around your store (or in line, so customers can give feedback while they are waiting!) with an option to leave a testimonial readily available..
Pro tip: Manage your reviews coming in. See how you can automate this process with SweetIQ’s Local Hub right here.
- Remember what platforms both parents & school-age kids are using.
- Speak to the buyers and the influencers in your digital strategy.
- Make the in-store experience memorable, and find ways to keep parents, teens and kids happy.
- Get reviews from your in-store shoppers to make your local listings shine.
- Manage the reviews coming in with an online tool.