As summer winds down, back to school shopping is well and truly underway. From laptops to pens to lunch boxes to school bags, we’re all well aware of the many products that make this the second biggest shopping season of the year.
In 2017, the back to school season is set to grow 14.8% to $74.03 billion in the US alone, according to eMarketer retail, so it’s easy to see the value and opportunity this market offers to online retailers.
Although online sales of back to school products has yet to surpass instore purchases, top retailers are recognising that convenience, not just price, is becoming a top priority for these savvy shoppers. Walmart now offers same-day store pickup for school items shoppers have ordered online and both it and Target post supply lists from participating schools on their websites. Shoppers can browse on their own or add every item on their child’s list to a digital cart with one simple click. Similarly, Amazon have incorporated back to school landing pages, supply lists and even taken it one step further offering shoppers free shipping.
To capitalise on this big market, brands need to push beyond the realm of the traditional and get smart with their approach. Read on to learn three ways brands can get ahead when going ‘back to school’.
Provide a Grade ‘A’ Customer Experience
The shopper experience has evolved greatly over the years with online shopping providing consumers with the simplicity, convenience and power to purchase products from all over the world from their tablets, smartphones and computers. With just a few clicks of a button, consumers can now have anything they want delivered straight to their door or downloaded instantaneously.
However, shoppers can too often become overwhelmed by the many offers flooding this online retail marketplace, especially in peak season. With 58.6% of online shoppers in the US alone abandoning shopping carts, eliminating any potential obstacles along the path to purchase will further enhance the customer experience, enabling brands to gain that much wanted competitive advantage. Simple things like website page load speed, back to school landing pages, good product imagery, clear ‘Buy Now’ call to actions and links to compare prices across recommended third party resellers, are some of the many things brands can do to ensure a grade ‘A’ customer experience. Happy customers mean fuller baskets, so transforming your customer experience is key to drives sales and brand loyalty this back to school season.
Use Insight to Power Up Conversions
Advertising is now a world of software, statistics, optimisation, operations research, algorithms, data science and a range of related disciplines all coming together to deal with large volumes of rapidly changing data. The availability of this data is one thing but, how often are brands truly capturing the right data and utilising this to optimise their digital advertising spend? Knowing more means you can sell more, and with brands and retailers aggressively trying to reap their share of this huge online retail market, some key business insights that will help brands power up conversions are having visibility of:
- Product performance to quickly identify what products are being purchased, where they are being purchased and if not being purchased on particular retailer sites, why not?
- Online visibility to know how shoppers are finding you, where they are coming from and where they are going when they abandon carts
- Content asset performance to determine what content works, what doesn’t, what has potential and what should be removed
- Conversion metrics to compare performance and drive retailer negotiating power on price, page positioning, competitor product bidding and much more
- Promotional offers to analyse promotion performance and positioning to leverage all upsell opportunities
Having all of this information in one place, easily accessible and digestible can enable marketers to make smart decisions, quickly.
Make the Most of Shoppable Moments
We live in a world of “see now buy now”. The idea of shoppable content is not new, brands have been attempting to secure purchases through communication channels for some time now. Interactive, relevant, shopping experiences are allowing brands to start meaningful conversations with users, understanding their needs, what they are looking for and finally, letting them complete their shopping in just a few easy clicks.
In the US alone, programmatic, digital ad spend is estimated to reach nearly $33 billion in 2017. In optimising this spend, it’s now becoming the norm for brands to make every moment, a shoppable moment. Clever call to action touch points across web, video and social media content are helping brands offer shoppers quick and easy paths to purchase, whilst offering choice and comparison across retail partners. In some cases, brands are pushing their ‘Buy Now’ technology even further by adopting Chatbots and AI to provide the best possible shopper experiences.
So that’s it in a nutshell, three key things that can help brands drive online sales this back to school season! Want to know more about how you can turn less clicks into more conversions?
Get in touch with the ChannelSight team and optimise your back to school activation this year with ChannelSight’s ‘Buy Now’ technology!
Digital Marketing Manager