Back to School 2018: An eCommerce Crash Course (Part 2)

In part 1 of this series we shared several back-to-school shopping trends that will impact how consumers engage with retailers during the back-to-school shopping season. We’ve now covered how a potential customer might find you, but what about why? Behold, Part 2, where we look at more factors that should influence your strategy when it comes to everything from staples to sports shoes.

Increasing Reliance on Social Media

The trend:

Just as retailers have been finding new and innovative ways to utilise social media, the back-to-school period is no different. If anything, this is the time they will have their eyes peeled for promotions and special offers.

The question is:

Which social media sites will they be leveraging?

Thankfully, there are plenty of answers. We know that 60% of Instagram users discover new products on the platform, and that 75% have taken action after being inspired by a post. On Pinterest, the vast majority of users (93%) turn to the app to plan future purchases. And we’ve all witnessed the power of Facebook to influence foot traffic to 100,000+ store locations a day.

The strategy:

When it comes to social commerce, all platforms are not created equal. It pays to be laser focused on the channels proven to be most effective for eCommerce. Facebook Carousel Ads and Instagram Dynamic Ads are all great options for reaching back-to-school shoppers where they’re actively seeking ideas, inspiration and product information.


The Trend:

There are a variety of factors that influence where and when parents shop for school supplies. The most important factor for parents when shopping during the back-to-school period is low price (48%), followed by wide product range (24%) and convenience (10%).  The list supplied by the school and the specific brands it may mention also wields huge influence. Children themselves also have influence when it comes to certain back-to-school products. 47% and 37% of children somewhat influence and strongly influence (respectively) clothing and footwear purchases while 57% and 18% of children somewhat influence and strongly influence school supply purchases.

The Strategy

Retailers know the strength of pester power, which means competing on price alone isn’t enough. It’s important to appeal to not only parents but also the students who will be using or wearing the school supplies. This is where the combination of all aspects mentioned in Part 1 and above come into play: social, mobile and omnichannel strategies are a way to reach everyone who might be influential to the final purchase decision.


Brands and retailers that wait until late summer to roll out back-to-school promotions could be missing out on a mountain of revenue. So too, stores that rely on old-school (excuse the pun) approaches to marketing when it comes to promotions for school supplies.

Need help implementing back-to-school strategies quickly and competitively?  ChannelAdvisor’s eCommerce platform is designed to accelerate the move to new marketplace and digital marketing channels. To learn how we can help you optimise operations for the remainder of the back-to-school season, get in touch.

Don’t miss the release of our Back to School eBook for even more insights. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it!

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