Is Your Business Ready for Back to School?

By: Andrew Sauveur

Back to school season sales in the months of July and August are expected to top $857 billion this year, according to That’s almost a 20% of total retail sales for the year, representing an incredible opportunity for small businesses.

Offering back to school promotions are the main way to reap the benefits of the season, but it doesn’t need to stop there. Now’s the time to review every part of your business, from financing to hiring, to accounting, to make sure you’re ready for the surge in sales. In this article, we’ll tell you how to best prepare every part of your business for back to school, with special tips for real estate agents and ecommerce businesses, so you don’t miss a moment of this profitable season.

1. Offer Unique Back To School Discounts

While the back-to-school season rakes in a lot of revenue annually, the thing that makes it unique from other shopping seasons is how consumers decide on their purchases. Most shopping decisions during the back-to-school season depend on how good deals are since most parents have to purchase many different items for their kids – and the easiest way to do this is to entice them with discounts.

While the most obvious items to discount during this season are school supplies, back-to-school promos can cover a wide range of products. Here are some unique ideas:

Discounted snack packs or healthy food bundles in grocery stores or home delivery options.
Be-ready-for-school car preparation for teachers and school staff.
Don’t-be-late-for-school promos for watches, clocks, or cellphones.
Look-cool-for-school sale for apparel retailers or hairstylists.
End-of-summer promos for resorts or hospitality establishments
Just take a look at your products and think out of the box – you’ll definitely find a way to tie it to back to school.

2. Offer Promos Before & After School Hours

Keep students and teachers coming back to your establishment by giving special discounts and freebies before classes start in the morning and after they finish in the afternoon. Keep these going during the first month of the school year.  This can create a potential ongoing clientele throughout the year.

If you run a restaurant, you can give them free coffee for breakfast or discounts on drinks or a slice of cake in the afternoon. Get them to try different products by changing up your freebies on a regular basis – they might be able to try something that they’ll end up liking but have never thought of buying before. While these offers are small and simple, it makes a big difference to students who are trying to make the most out of their daily limited allowances.

3. Create A Loyalty Program For Parents, Students, & Teachers

Since the bulk of shoppers during the back-to-school season are parents, students, and teachers, try to retain them as repeat customers for the rest of the year by launching a loyalty program and enticing them to join for free.
Design your loyalty program in a way that will encourage them to keep coming back to your store even after the back to school season ends.

Here are some perks you can offer as part of your program:
– Give them a free gift as a thank you token for their first purchase
– Offer new and attractive deals every month
– Hold a bi-annual sale for your members
– Include discounts for all their purchases (ex. 5%-10% discount to all members)
– Have a point system to allow them to collect points that they can use to buy products
– Give an additional discount on their birthday or birthday month

4. Partner With A Local Establishment To Hold Events Or Run Promos

Back-to-school season means summer is winding down. It’s a great time to hold an event when the weather’s still nice, and people are taking advantage of the last few days of the break before school starts.
During this time, look around your area and see if there’s an establishment you can partner with for a back-to-school event. You can host a free ice cream night at a partner restaurant or work with a music venue to hold a concert.
You can also consider giving your products as freebies at high-traffic establishments such as restaurants, groceries, bookstores, and department stores.
Partnering with an establishment is a great way to gain access to a new customer pool, increasing the reach of people who will discover your business and might be interested in your products or services.

5. Revisit Your Online Marketing Initiatives

The end-of-summer season is a great time to re-evaluate your online presence and spruce up your website before the busy season starts again.
– Market your promos through eye-catching visuals and photos on your social media pages, such as Facebook and Instagram.
– Update your website homepage to display any visuals about your back-to-school promos.
– Have a good CRM software in place to capture business leads. The back-to-school season often drives heavier than usual traffic to your website, and a CRM helps keeps things organized. Use targeted lead magnet tools such as pop-ups, newsletter sign-ups, and contact forms on your website.

To check out some examples of these back to school promotions, check out pages like these!  or  @denisebreslin20 on facebook.

Drew Sauveur
Author: Drew Sauveur

Local business owner and resident of Durham Region

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