How to target back-to-school shoppers on your eCommerce site

6 min read
Brenda Barron

UPDATE: This back-to-school shoppers post was first published on GoDaddy's U.S. blog on 1 August 2018 and updated for the GoDaddy Canada blog on 12 August 2021.

Summer is coming to a close — which means now is the perfect time to launch back-to-school sales, promotions and deals. Back-to-school shoppers offer a huge opportunity for retailers across a variety of industries. 

If you want to know how to target buyers and improve your bottom line, you’re in the right place. 

In this article, we’ll share eight marketing tactics that will help you target back-to-school shoppers on your eCommerce site.

8 marketing tactics to attract back-to-school shoppers

Let's dive into our eight marketing tips.

1. Know what back-to-school shoppers want

The primary category back-to-school shoppers will be interested in are school supplies, but don’t ignore other categories. They will also be looking at:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Electronics
  • Sporting goods
  • Books
  • Music
  • Related categories

Not only will these categories include school supplies, but items that fulfill wants and needs that extend beyond school. 

2. Create back-to-school product collections and landing pages

Make the buying process as easy as possible and create collections or categories for back-to-school products. You can also create landing pages for the most popular products or product categories. 

Overhead view of school supplies laid out on a white background

Since distractions are limited and your website shows them exactly what they need, this will make it easier to turn them from browsers into buyers.

Another benefit of creating product collections and landing pages is that you can use them in your paid advertising campaigns, so it pays off to create them any time you are running a big sales event.

3. Group products based on buyer personas

This tip is directly related to the one above and involves grouping back-to-school products based on different buyer personas. 

For example, you can create different collections that target moms, college students and teachers:

  • Moms would be interested not only in basic school supplies but they might also look at apparel and sporting goods.
  • College students might focus on electronics as well as furniture and accessories on top of standard school supplies. 
  • Teachers, on the other hand, will be looking for school supplies as well as storage bins and boxes, basic toiletries and computer-related products.

Related: How to use personalization to increase sales

Stay abreast of current trends and use them to boost your sales. What are kids and parents talking about nowadays? What topics interest them outside of school? 

You can use a tool like Google Trends to see what is currently trending in your area as well as checking out trending hashtags on social media like Twitter and Instagram. Alternatively, consider using a tool like Think with Google to research how popular certain products are. 

For example, if a popular app or a game is trending, could you partner with the developers and offer game or app codes? If a popular movie is due to come out during the back-to-school sale season, can you partner with a local movie theater and offer a set of movie tickets? You are only limited by your imagination here, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas. 

5. Use back-to-school themed content

It goes without saying that you need to get buyers to come to your site to be able to incorporate the tactics mentioned in this article. To do this, use back-to-school themed content and promote it on social media. 

You can create a review of a certain product, a list of the must-have school supplies, a buying guide or even a comparison review that evaluates the two most popular products side-by-side. 

Related: How to write a blog for a retail store

Teacher sitting at a desk in front of a blackboard

6. Offer an incentive

Everyone loves a good deal, back-to-school shoppers included, which means offering an incentive can make a huge impact on your bottom line. For starters, consider one of the main reasons why people abandon their cart without checking out — high shipping costs

Additionally, free shipping is a great incentive for back-to-school shoppers to put that first item in their cart and continue their buying spree. 

Aside from free shipping, you can offer a discount code or a BOGO deal (buy one, get one free) to increase the likelihood of the sale and encourage buyers to choose you over your competitor. 

Related: How to create and offer discount codes

7. Engage back-to-school shoppers on social media

Spending time on social media, where your potential buyers are, will give you a better understanding of their interests and create a more meaningful relationship with them. You can engage in a conversation with them and show them that there's a person behind your business, which will pay off in your marketing efforts later on. 

Use the insight you get from engaging with your buyers to create social posts and marketing emails that speak to their needs and make sales. 

Related: Your one-stop promotions toolkit

8. Don’t forget late shoppers

Lastly, don’t assume that everyone will do their back-to-school shopping early. Some of your buyers might stagger the purchase over the span of a few weeks or wait until the school year is about to start. 

You can encourage them to complete their purchase by adding urgency and scarcity reminders closer to the school start date. For example, adding a back-to-school countdown to your website will remind those late shoppers they only have a few days left to snag those deals. 

Boost your end-of-summer profits

Back-to-school sales are one of the longest sale periods of the year, so you have the potential make sales during this time. Use the eight marketing tips in this article to target back-to-school shoppers on your eCommerce site and boost your sales.