How to Use Back-to-School Sales to Drive Business
Back-to-school shopping isn’t just about backpacks, binders and lunch boxes for little kids. It’s an extended buying spree that sees people of all ages purchase a diverse range of products and services. Many people consider the start of the school year to be the ideal time to refresh and replenish their wardrobe, supplies and possessions. Whether it’s clothes, computers, furniture, accessories, or just basic school supplies, demand surges across several sectors.
No matter what your small business sells, you won’t want to miss the bell during this busy shopping season. Here’s a look at a few ways to potentially boost your business with back-to-school sales ideas.
Promote back-to-school bargains on social media
Generate buzz for back-to-school sales on your social media channels and your company website. You can provide discount codes, price reductions for new followers, or special deals for anyone who signs up for your newsletter. Put a back-to-school link on the front page of your e-commerce site, if you have one. Consider daily or weekly deals that keep the online crowd coming back to check on your latest offer.
Host a back-to-school shopping party
Special events can be a great way to boost traffic at your small business. If you haven’t hosted one over the slow summer months, back-to-school could be just the thing to bring in some new buyers. Dress up your business with school-themed decorations, put some schoolhouse rock on the sound system, and consider providing refreshments or extending your opening hours. Get some freebies to give away, run an education-related contest (prizes for stories about favourite teachers, for example), or come up with other creative ideas that tie your business in with the back-to-school vibe.
Be charitable: give discounts to those who give
Here’s a fun idea for a back-to-school event in which everyone wins: give discounts to those who make charitable donations of school supplies, or money to purchase items for less-fortunate students. Find a local school or college that has a need, say new books for the library or possibly upgraded computer equipment. Offer your customers a chance to donate in exchange for a discount on their purchases while they’re back-to-school shopping at your business.
Sign people up for loyalty programs
Chances are you’ll attract some first-time shoppers during the back-to-school rush. One great way to turn those folks into repeat customers is by signing them up for a loyalty or rewards program. Whether you offer a punch card deal for frequent buyers to earn free items or a regular percentage discount, there are several different things you can do to encourage back-to-school shoppers to come back again and again.
Be a teacher’s pet
Students aren’t the only ones going shopping before classes get back underway. Before their summer vacation comes to an end, thousands of teachers are taking care of their personal and professional needs. Think of a way to make these educators a focus of your business, and offer them an incentive to use your services. A beauty salon might give teachers a discount on manicures and haircuts, fashion retailers could cut prices on clothes and accessories, and a yoga studio or massage therapist could tempt teachers with special relaxation sessions before the stress of a new school year sets in.
Emphasize the end of summer with ‘Last Chance’ sales
If your business doesn’t sell school supplies or anything related to the student experience, consider putting a different spin on your sale by calling it an end-of-summer special. Emphasize the idea that this is the last time many shoppers will be free to patronize your business before vacation ends and classes resume. By doing so, you’ll create a sense of urgency that will encourage people to take advantage of your deal before it expires.
Partner up with a neighbourhood business
Another idea for businesses without obvious links to school shopping is to strike up a partnership with another local company that does. Provide coupons or a special giveaway for anyone who spends above a certain threshold on back-to-school items at a local fashion retailer or electronics store. Consider making it a time-sensitive special offer, and recipients will have extra incentive to stop by your business to investigate your discount or deal before the deadline.