Back-to-school shoppers reportedly spent more than $82 million dollars last year. That’s more than what was recorded for Valentine’s and Mother’s and Father’s Day combined. This shows that the back-to-school period is a major one that’s open for growth and the great news is that just about any business can tap into the market by offering back to school themed deals. So how do you prepare your e-commerce site ready for back-to-school? Here are six things you can do.
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1. Know Back-to-School Shoppers Need
You may have already done your research and is supplying what back to school shoppers are demanding. This may be clothes, shoes, backpacks, school supplies. Electronics are also a best seller for the back to school market. There may be a need for website hosting services for teachers or students. Do your research and you will figure out what the needs are.
2. Figure out if you Can You Offer What Back-to-School Shoppers Want
Once you’ve identified the needs, decide if you can supply those needs, based on the products and services your ecommerce site provides. If your site doesn’t provide what the back-to-school market is demanding, you may want to consider diversifying or just getting creative with what you already offer.
So, if your website sells garden supplies for example, you may want to consider offering deals on tools and seeds for teachers who want to plant a vegetable or flower garden at school. If groceries are your thing, create quick recipes and offer items from those recipes on sale. Parents and guardian will appreciate this and the children will too.
The rule is to get creative.
3. Make your site appealing to back-to-School Shoppers.
With back-to-school sales estimated to be in the billions, positioning your website to get a piece of the pie will require creativity and strategic thinking. Here are three tested and proven tools you can use to make your ecommerce site more appealing to back to school shoppers and increase your bottom-line.
Now’s the time to roll out the coupon codes, flash sales, freebies and extra rewards program points for educators. Ensure there’s something that will attract everyone, including teachers. Make the deals appealing, but don’t sell yourself short in the process. The idea is to make it a win- win situation for you and your customers, so stay competitive with your competitors’ deals.
Shipping costs can prevent shoppers from buying from your website, even if they need the products and services you offer. If you already do, you are ahead of the game. If, not, now would be a good time to consider. One way to make this work is by offering different shipping options and allow customers to choose.
The faster options would come at a cost to them, while you offer free shipping for the slower delivery. Most budget-conscious shoppers will be more than willing to wait a few extra days in exchange for free shipping. How do you compensate for that cost? Factor in your anticipated shipping expenses and adjust your product prices as accordingly. This will ensure you do not lose money in the process.
Also, ensure that the shipping guidelines on your ecommerce site are up to date.
There are a number of ways that you can promote your website and its products and services.
Here are a few examples.
- Create a campaign targeted at different segments of your store’s email list that will highlight the different best back to school offers, etc. Don’t have an email list? This is the time to create one.
- If your site has a blog attached to it, update it with the latest news about back to school items and upcoming sales. Cross post those blogs, by posting them on social media. Ensure that the link takes customers back to your website.
- Customers love coupons, so create some and send them to clients on your email list. Post them to social media too.
4. Secure your site
Security is a big deal as it relates to preparing your e-commerce site for back to school shopping.
Truth be told, you e-commerce should always be secure, particularly because you are collecting people’s sensitive information and dealing with their money. So, if your site isn’t secure, you should not be operating an e-commerce site. If your site is already secured, it doesn’t hurt to double check to make sure every T is crossed and every I dotted.
Two of the major things you will want to do for your website in terms of security are:
- Installing SSL Certificates
- Web Monitoring
SSL certificates encrypt data sent across the internet with the aim of preventing cyber criminals from stealing data. So when you install them on your website, you give shoppers a sort of guarantee that you will protect their names, passwords, credit card pin and any other sensitive information they entrust you with. learn more about SSL certificates here.
Customers do not find websites with regular downtime attractive. If your site is down often, customers will take their business elsewhere, which means you lose money and your reputation. Given that downtime is pretty much inevitable, the aim should be to reduce it to a minimum and that’s what’s web monitoring comes in handy.
Monitoring your platform keeps you up to date with its performance and if it were to go down, you’d be immediately notified so you can resolve the issue before your customers on the front line even notice.
If the issue cannot be fixed right way, monitoring gives you the time you need to notify your back to school shoppers about the problem and what you’re doing to fix it.
Web monitoring also gives you the heads up when a hacker is lurking around. This allows you time to do or fix anything you may need before an attack is launched, thereby protecting your online shoppers and the business.
There are a number of tools and software that you can use to monitor your website.
5. Bandwidth and disk space
With the increase in traffic anticipated, make sure you have sufficient bandwidth and disk space to effectively manage all your new customers and the data they share with you.
Failure to do this could see your website slowing down or crashing and as noted before, that is never good for your customers or for your company’s reputation.
6. Analyze Data
You’ll need to do a back to school season report after the season is done. This is done by analyzing your website’s sales and traffic numbers.
Take note of the data you find as it will show you the rise and fall in sales and traffic and will also prepare you to offer an even greater back to school shopping experience next year.
There are a host of things that you can do to make your e-commerce website ready for back to school shopping, but security must be the most important thing you do.