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School is Almost Back! Increase Your Sales With These Back-To-School Trends
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School is Almost Back! Increase Your Sales With These Back-To-School Trends

Saanika Budhiraja
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Did you know that back-to-school time is the second-biggest shopping season of the year? That’s right, it falls just behind the holiday season!

According to Allied Market Research, the back-to-school market size is expected to reach $131.18 billion globally by 2030. So, if you’re preparing for the upcoming season, prepare to increase back-to-school sales in a big way.

We’ve got you covered with these back-to-school (BTS) and back-to-college (BTC) marketing campaign ideas. But first, here are a few back-to-school retail trends and forecasts.

Back-to-school Retail Trends For 2022

Despite the economic uncertainty the pandemic has caused, consumers seem ready to spend money and prepare for back-to-school – and we don’t blame them! Heading back to school without as many restrictions has been much anticipated, as things slowly start to normalize. As precautions slowly start easing and with a high vaccination rate for teachers and children increasing, a strong back-to-school season is expected.

Now, there is going to be a strong focus on rebuilding classroom community, getting active with group activities and team-building. With all fairness, students have two years of catching up to do!

The good news is that as a result of Covid-19, online shopping is now bigger than ever, making back-to-school sales easier than ever! Bricks and mortar store sales continue to decrease while online sales soar – and eCommerce marketers and online retailers all over the world are relishing the opportunity, but not necessarily best placed to take full advantage..

More than 30% of families are making the decision to purchase items online for the back to school shopping season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) also estimates US$33.9 billion back-to-school spending for parents with children in elementary school through to high school.

The supermarket segment maintains dominance

The hypermarket and supermarket segment contributed to the largest back-to-school market share in 2020 and accounted for nearly two-fifths of the global market. On the other hand, the e-Commerce segment is projected to deliver the fastest CAGR of 6.0% from 2021 to 2030 due to ease in availability, time-saving, information on products and home delivery.

School and stationery supplies

Stationery is still leading the segment, and it’s likely to for some time, as not quite everything is digitalised in classrooms just yet. According to Allied Market Research, the stationery segment also contributed to the highest share in 2020, accounting for more than two-fifths of the global back-to-school market, on par with the supermarket segment. Supplies such as backpacks, notebooks, uniforms, lunch boxes, and other traditional back-to-school products are expected to be sold out quicker than quick!

What’s also important to note is that there may be changes in supplies as some students continue learning from home, which means a higher demand for electronics too.

Popular fashion trends during the back-to-school 2022 season

Fashion is in high demand

Stationery isn’t all that’s contributing to back-to-school sales. As more colleges take lectures offline, there is a big demand for fashion as students go back to college. In fact, clothing accounts for as much as 55% of the budget for back-to-school in the U.S.

Fashion trends we are beginning to see come through with Generation Z are ones such as sustainable clothing and recycled materials. But there are other generations to consider too. In a recent survey, 50% said they had bought apparel for themselves and for their children during the back to school season.

Back-to-school also means back-to-sport with more after-school activities getting back to the way they were. For this reason, sportswear is likely to be in high demand for both kids and adults.

Delivery and shipping

With a surge of demand for online shopping, many expect a high-quality delivery service. Prepare your e-Commerce store to accommodate parents’ and students’ shipping and delivery expectations. Don’t forget to offer different delivery options such as home delivery, pickups in-store, curbside pickups, and contactless delivery options, with social distancing adhered to if it remains an impediment to shopping in your market.

Spending caution

During this back-to-school season, there are likely to be some changes in shopping habits too. Many households are still suffering financially from the effects of 2020 and 2021, so financial constraints will also need to be a consideration in order to give your customers the very best value. Over 80% shoppers are expecting to see higher prices for clothing and stationary with back to college and back to school shopping in 2022.

Recent research from the U.S.A cited the following shopping motivators:

  • Price (61%)
  • Availability of certain items (42%)
  • Promotions or discounts (35%)
  • Quick delivery (16%)
  • Online ordering options (16%)
  • Loyalty program (12%)
Most popular shopping motivators for back-to-school retail season

Marketing Tactics And Ideas For Back-To-School Sales

We’ve put together a list of back-to-college and back-to-school marketing ideas to help inspire your team.

Create helpful shopping guides

Giving your audience something useful for free is a great way to make their lives easier, whilst keeping your brand top of mind. Source the best products and put them together in a free guide, helpful tips or a shopping checklist for your customers.

What about a “guide to surviving your child’s first day back-to-school post-pandemic” or “quick and easy family meal plans to survive back-to-school madness”. ALDI does this really well, sharing helpful recipes for parents to save time (and money) on busy weekday mornings. Planners, templates and calendars are all good ideas too.

Creating free, valuable content will help streamline your audience’s shopping experience. You can also feature local businesses that may have aligned audiences. Once a brand is featured, they may share your guide and promote it to their own audiences, giving you an opportunity to gain more exposure and customers.

An example of a back-to-school guide for parents to help them make a shopping list

Source: https://www.aldi.ie/back-to-school-guide

Think about the teachers

Back-to-school doesn’t need to be all about the kids – let’s not forget about the all-important educators that make up a consumer group of 6.7 million in the USA alone. Offering a teacher discount code, a free gift with their purchase or a tiered spending initiative are all great incentives for teachers who spend a lot on their classrooms each year.

It might also be worth creating a specific campaign for teachers only if it makes sense for your brand to do so. Perhaps you could create a “teacher’s corner” on your website, or share helpful calendars, templates and lesson plans.

A graphic showing planners and other helpful material to help teachers prepare to go back-to-school

Source: https://www.abcschoolsupplies.ie/

Then there are the parents

The children may have the pester power, but the parents have all the spending power, so they should arguably be your biggest target audience. But it doesn’t have to be all about school items. Perhaps with all the back-to-school chaos, a date night is just what they’ll need? Get creative and think about what might be helpful, or nice for parents during this busy time.

It’s also important to note that a recent statistic states that more than 30% use mobile coupon apps as their go-to option for finding discounts online in the UK.

Everyone loves a giveaway

Perhaps your online store doesn’t sell specific back-to-school items? Not to worry, you can still jump on the bandwagon! A giveaway or contest can really generate buzz and hype on social media.

Think about putting together items for the ultimate back-to-school giveaway. This doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be for college goers or pupils, don’t forget about parents, teachers and more, as mentioned earlier.

If you do want to include school items in your campaign, consider partnering up with another brand for this giveaway and cross-promoting your products. Pair up with another business for a special offer or bundled deals. While doing so, always ensure the brand’s audience is aligned with yours too. This way, you can generate followers, capture contact information and more. In fact, ​​40% of back-to-school shoppers are likely to purchase bundled supply kits.

Even better, you could join forces with an influencer – parenting influencers and mom-fluencers are taking over the internet!

Put together a school supply drive

For a really different campaign idea, consider putting together a drive for schools in need of supplies. You can ask customers to donate school supplies and/or donate money.

This won’t necessarily result in major sales for your brand, but it will serve as great brand awareness that will get customers’ attention, whilst supporting a worthy cause.

Ready To Boost back-to-school Sales?

That’s it for all our back-to-school shopping trends and marketing tactics! We hope you enjoyed this article, and if you did, it’s likely you’ll enjoy our hub of articles and resources.


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