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Back-To-School Is Second-Largest Shopping Season

Back-to-School is Much More than Staples and Target

Even if it feels like you’ve just started enjoying summer and your kids are more interested in the pool than academics, don’t forget the back-to-school shopping season is just around the corner. And back-to-school is big business.

Sure, college students will be filling with their dorm rooms with side tables and Bluetooth speakers, and Staples will be overrun with kids looking for binders and the perfect roller ball pen. But back-to-school is much bigger than paper and pencils. It triggers all kinds of buying decisions — electronics get a real boost during this season — and taking advantage of the opportunity will boost your business now and build long-term relationships with both retailers and consumers.

Beyond Amazon or your Shopify store. Be truly omnichannel.

Online marketplaces, eCommerce stores, pop-ups, a trip to the mall — today’s back-to-school buyers will make purchases wherever it’s convenient or the price is right or the timing suits them. Add in the continuing expansion of mobile applications and the tech-savvy nature of today’s students, and it’s obvious that being able to connect with back-to-school shoppers requires a true omnichannel approach if you want to have your back-to-school items in front of people at the right time in the right location.

Some established retailers like Target are not content to wait for students to come to their stores. They bring Target to college campuses, with pop-up stores offering everything an incoming class needs to decorate their dorm room. They’re not the only retailer with inventive approaches. In this constantly changing retail environment, every store — online or brick-and-mortar — will be coming up with new ways to make themselves part of the back-to-school buying process.

Get eyeballs with social media.

When it comes to marketing your products, a social media presence is imperative when you’re trying to reach a generation that will buy things it decides are, say, Insta-worthy. If you’re a fashion brand, it’s not only important — it’s vital.

If you have been debating a larger social media effort, now is the time to wade in.

Back-to-School sales happen earlier every year.

Fact is, the back-to-school season kicks in earlier every year. Whether it’s busy parents wanting to get ahead of the rush or shifting school schedules, sales are happening sooner. If you’re not already working through your back-to-school strategy, you need to get moving. Fast. Like the instant you’re finished reading this article.

That said, 30% of back-to-school shoppers will wait until one or two weeks before the start of school to begin shopping. That means you can end up with some seriously high volume days that you’ll need to be able to handle — make sure you have a system in place that gives you the control you need over orders from online marketplaces and eCommerce stores. The last thing you want to do is bungle fulfillment or miss orders because your approach to order management has serious holes.

EDI or digital commerce — manage the order process efficiently.

Whether it’s EDI transactions with your trading partners or a customer in another country ordering from your Shopify or Magento store, the busy back-to-school season means fresh pressure to deliver the goods. Literally. You don’t want supply chain issues to be both costly and damaging to the health of your relationship with a store or a consumer.

Working with the right software provider can make all the difference, and establishing that relationship before the back-to-school season is key. Whether it’s EDI, online marketplaces, or your eCommerce store, merging all the information and making sure you’re getting orders out is paramount. Do it well this year and you can expect even more sales in 2019.

Lunch Box Tuesday? How about Report Card Thursday or Backpack Wednesday?

We’ll finish with some thoughts on marketing the Back-to-School season. Wouldn’t something like Black Friday or Cyber Monday help promote Back-to-School sales? What do you think? Do you have a great name to share? Let’s get something new started!