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Getting to Know the Back-to-School Audience

Posted by Ngan Ton on Aug 7, 2018 9:45:00 AM
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Back-to-school shopping is in full swing, and products are flying off the shelves—from pencils and notebooks to new shoes and shirts. Although this means mega retailers are scoring big on converting foot traffic, it doesn't necessarily mean online retailers have to miss out. Ecommerce businesses have the benefit of quickly adapting designs and products, and more importantly the shoppers they target.

Like the products flying off shelves, the actual back-to school shoppers also have incredible variety—teachers need to prepare for the school year, parents have kids to shop for, kids need to impress their peers, and we can't forget college students heading back on campus.

Back-to-school is a widening market, with revenues increasing year over year and contributed by many types of buyera. The life stage of a shopper greatly impacts the products they purchase and how much they spend during this season. As business owners and marketers, you'll need to identify your target audience, then get to know their needs and preferences to have a successful back-to-school season. Here are a few of the main groups you should familiarize yourself with along with products they are likely to purchase.

Teachers & Administrators

A report by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 94 percent of teachers spend an average of $479 a year on their classrooms, with 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 a year. While focusing on school supplies may limit products you can offer, consider that teachers may also shop for themselves as they browse. Just like the kids they teach, teachers are in the market to update their own wardrobe and accessories the start of the school year.

Getting to Know the Back-to-School Audience - Teacher


Deloitte found the average household planned spending will remain fairly flat this year (up to $510 from $501 in 2017), with 57 percent of back-to-school spend planned planned for in-store purchases. The opportunity for retailers? $5.5 billion , as 20 percent of parents’ back-to-school spend is still undecided between online and in-store spend.

This audience is interested in a wide array of school items—predominantly supplies and clothing but also electronics. If you're not in the market to offer electronics, accessories like cases and headphones are an equally viable.

Getting to Know the Back-to-School Audience - Student

College Students

College students (and their parents) are the biggest spenders of the bunch because they need the most. They need to purchase the right supplies, dress to impress, and furnish their dorm rooms. Often times, their supplies include pricier products such as laptops, phones, and TV's.

The college shopper may be easier to spot if you can leverage the right identifiers. For example, if you can pinpoint shoppers looking for twin XL sheets, shower caddies, textbooks, storage containers, or those interested in certain university pages, you can target them with offer for other college necessities.

Getting to Know the Back-to-School Audience - College

Homework: Get to know your back-to-school shoppers.
No matter your target audience, back-to-school shoppers will spend a lot of money this season and they're leaving a digital trail across devices and the web. If you're willing to study these data points, you can use them to inform your strategy and capitalize on the back-to-school shopping season.

Topics: Tips and Tactics, Inspiration

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