Don't tell your kids, cause it will bum them out, but in just a month, it'll be time to go back to school. This the time is now for business owners to start thinking about the marketing they will use to help steer shoppers to their stores. A recent study has data that can help in this regard. A survey from Eyeview found that both parents and students were most moved by localized campaigns.

School shopping is one of the few areas that haven't been dominated by ecommerce. Fewer than 20% of students and parents make half their back to school purchases online. This creates an opportunity for local, brick-and-mortar retailers. According to the study, two out of three (66%) students and nearly three out of four (74%) parents believe local targeting is 'the most impactful' part of back-to-school ad campaigns.

"Breaking out of the back-to-school marketing noise has become increasingly competitive, with retailers starting promotions earlier and earlier," said Oren Harnevo, CEO and Co-founder at Eyeview. "This survey has uncovered actionable takeaways, like the importance of geo-targeting, relevant messaging, and telling the right story to the dual audience of students and parents. Personalization needs to be the gold standard for brands because, when done right, it can have a great impact on offline sales."

The study also confirmed some long-standing beliefs consumers have about back-to-school shopping and debunked a few myths. The authors of the study found that both parents and students do much of their shopping online but students were significantly more like to use online resources as well. Nearly half (49%) of students surveyed and four out of five (82%) parents make about half of back to school buys in-store. This means that 51 percent of students make more than half of their purchases online, so there's still good reason for business owners to use online marketing tactics.

Even when shoppers don' t buy the item online, having their mobile device with them helps them when shopping in-store. According to the data, two out of of five (40%) students and two out of three (66%) parents say they browse online before purchasing in-store.

Besides noting the benefits of local marketing, the researchers also collected data that shows the usefulness of other marketing tactics like retargeting and personalization. A third (34%) of students and a quarter (27%) of parents said that retargeting campaigns were the most impactful for them. Not as strong a showing as localization, but something business owners should consider. Similarly, 40% of students and 45% of parents say personalization in advertising gets their attention.

Business owners and marketers should remember that parents aren't their only audience when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Though parents are most likely the one ones paying for back-to-school supplies, about half of parents (48%) say their children make or influence final back to school purchases. Children and teens who may not be excited about school, do get excited about shopping, and tapping into that energy can be beneficial for marketers.

One way business owners can do this is by including things in their marketing that will capture the attention of students. For example, instead of just listing the great prices on pencils and paper (which appeals to parents), marketers should include product images from things kids enjoy, such as stationary or clothing with their favorite characters.

The relatively small percentage of back-to-school shopping that happens online also shows an opportunity for online retailers. By identifying the factors that keep people from using e-commerce for school shopping, online retailers can create campaigns that can increase their revenue.

One reason that parents don't shop online for school supplies is that many don't buy supplies until right before school starts. This makes consumers more likely to go to brick-and-mortar store because they know they can get their hands on the product in time for school. Online retailers can make up for this by offering big discounts weeks before the start of school . The early marketing will give the retailer a jump on their competition and would encourage people to shop online early because it will save them in the long run and there would be plenty of time for shipping if the retailer starting the ad campaign early enough.

Online retailers who also have a physical location can use integrated marketing campaigns to increase the reach and effectiveness of their campaigns. Marketers can use their online site to help customers while they shop in-store with product information, item availability and reviews. Even if this doesn't lead to a huge impact on online sales, these tactics will increase revenues for in-store sales.

School will be back in session soon, so business owners should start planning their marketing campaigns now. Make sure that your marketing campaign features localization, personalization and retargeting.

For more e-commerce information that help business owners, read this article with five tips for improving an e-commerce website.


Published on: Jul 6, 2015
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