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Back to School 101: Capturing Greater Share of Wallet via Engaging Ecommerce Experiences

Even though school just ended for a lot of kids, the next school year is already top of mind for marketers and retailers across the country. Additionally, discounts and promotions for back to school continue to roll out earlier, according to Advertising Age, because marketers are trying to reach the consumers who are spreading out their purchases over the summer due to a tighter budget. Dads and Grads season is over and, like it or not,  Back-to-School season is upon us!


back to school


Though classes typically don’t resume until late August or early September (and may vary depending on the country), now  is the time when digital assets are being developed — as marketers are in scramble-mode to publish compelling content and merchandising displays across all channels and ultimately get the highest possible share of BTS wallets.

The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Top 10 Back To School Trends highlights the trends and statistics surrounding online shopping behavior and the tremendous opportunity for retailers during this time:  The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Top 10 Back To School Trends Infographic

At Zmags, we hold true to the belief that ‘Search is not Shopping. This is especially true for Back to School, where what kids want and what parents think they need to purchase will likely change over the course of the summer and buying process. It’s therefore important to provide a dynamic shopping experience and keep website content and inventory fresh to maintain the attention, and capture maximum SOW,  of these shoppers.

Retailers that make it easy to buy a variety of items at one place/website and provide value-add ideas (for instance, ways to save money while stocking up, how to extend the life of your child’s wardrobe, etc.) are likely to come out ahead of competitors.

Another key driver of the digital shopping experience and likelihood to purchase is convenience, especially during BTS season. A variety of preparations are being made for the upcoming school year, all while families are trying to enjoy summer vacations. Tablet commerce becomes a desirable option for parents that don’t have entire afternoons to go out to the mall.  Some brands, such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Elmer’s Glue, have recognized this convenience driver and developed mobile strategies around it, including SMS-delivered coupons and Back-to-School displays for shopping on the mobile site home page.  Back-to-School shopping, bolstered by mobile, was on an uptick:  between 2003 and 2012, online spending for BTS quadrupled , and these shoppers spent 27% more than average ($874).

We have yet to see how the 2013 season will unfold, yet retailers that sell school supplies, kids’ clothes, and accessories are wise to deploy digital catalogs and other online collateral early. One in the Southern Hemisphere that has gotten a head start and has enjoyed success already is the Good Guys NZ.

Beyond Retail

Retailers selling products for school are not the only marketing professionals that will leverage online content during this time of year. College course catalogs, school calendars, event flyers, and more can be published and circulated online with interactive features and sharing capabilities.

When these collateral pieces are in digital format, it ensures that they can be viewed by a wide audience and across all devices.  Schools can position themselves as new-school and tech-savvy by putting a great interactive piece of content in front of their recruits and prospects. Additionally, they will never get lost in the mail or in the shuffle of papers on the kitchen counter!

Footbal Program Guide


Be sure to follow the Zmags blog throughout the summer as Back-to-School season comes to life.



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