The next school year is only a few short weeks away for some, so for retailers, it’s time to start revving up your back-to-school marketing! 

The National Retail Federation predicts record-high spending on back-to-school supplies for 2019 at an all-time high of $80.7 billion. This survey also states that half of those shoppers are holding out for bigger sales. 

Here in South Carolina, our biggest back-to-school shopping days are typically our tax-free holiday weekend, which falls on August 2nd – 4th this year. During this three-day event, shoppers can purchase back-to-school items without paying the state’s 6% sales tax and any local taxes. These tax-free items include back-to-school supplies, bed & bath, clothing & accessories, and of course computers and technology. To find your state’s tax-free weekend, check out the full list here.

If you’re a business that sells any products or items that are school-related, it’s time to start thinking about how you can reach parents that are in the mindset of shopping for their children’s next school year.

Here are a few ways to amp up your marketing efforts to reach those parents and maybe even make those kids a little more excited about the school year ahead: 

  1. Plan ahead for the tax-free weekend with this SC retailers guide.
  2. Re-merchandise your store or website to showcase back-to-school items front and center – make it easy for parents and students to find what they are looking for! 
  3. Bundle products or offer incentives that you wouldn’t normally offer. Perhaps it’s a BOGO offer or free shipping, but make sure it’s not something that they can get walking into your store or by browsing your site every day. This should be an incentive for them to shop on a specific day just to get this desired deal. 
  4. Get the word out! Any sales should be mentioned on social media organically in advance to give shoppers time to browse their newsfeed and make note of the sale. Make sure to use the hashtag #SCtaxfree on all your posts! Savvy moms and students will be following this hashtag to find the best deals on back-to-school supplies. 
  5. You’ve got to pay to play! Your competitors will be advertising, so you should be as well. Digital ads are the best way to reach a broader audience and you can pinpoint your target areas. Take it a step further with targeted social media ads the day of the sale. These are the best way to get shoppers in the door that are within a few miles radius of your store! 
  6. Host a giveaway! Gain more social media followers by hosting a giveaway online. Have users tag your shop or use a specific hashtag to enter with a pic of their school supplies. An example would be: Show us your new back-to-school supplies by tagging “Business” and be entered to win a $250 gift card for our store!
  7. Team up with Influencers. The power of Influencers not only reaches the students but also reaches the moms. Mom bloggers are HUGE and Influencer followers are the real deal. Teaming up with local Mom bloggers or Influencers is a great way to reach a wider audience. Have the Influencer showcase a shopping trip in the store or an unboxing of what they purchased from your website in exchange for free school supplies or a gift card. 
  8. Don’t forget to go live! Showcase your sale front and center with Facebook Live and Instagram Stories! Showcase your store, the products for sale, or your items online that are perfect for back to school. Stay top of mind by adding to your stories throughout the weekend! 
  9. Talk to your customers! Make sure you are responding to any feedback or comments online throughout the duration of the sale in a timely manner. Mom’s and students may have questions about your products or even what’s left in stock! Take this opportunity to hone your customer service skills and be a business they can trust! 
  10. And finally! Offer a discount or coupon code for a future date to keep them coming back for more! It’s possible they will run out of something or need additional supplies during the school year and what better way to get them coming back than with additional savings! 

But don’t stop there! Keep going throughout the school year with social media giveaways to produce user-generated content with real students using your products or supplies. Social media provides an outlet for shoppers to see real people using products they are considering rather than just another tailored ad. As students and moms continue to turn to social media for word of mouth recommendations, make sure your business is at the top of the list. 

Ready to be schooled in back-to-school marketing? Give us a call for a free consultation today at (888) 632-4499 or fill out our free consultation form here.

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