Back-to-school campaigns seem to launch earlier and earlier each year, forcing consumers and marketers into the “new tennis shoes and No. 2’s” mindset moments after celebrating the Fourth of July. And while many marketing plans are underway, it’s important for retailers to make sure behavioral marketing remains a key component during this crucial time.
After all, Back to School is the perfect preview into the holiday purchasing tendencies and shopping trends of your customers—insights you can leverage now based on customer behavior and once again as the holidays draw near. For example, was there a unicorn theme to the items a customer purchased for their child this school year? Chances are they might be interested in placing unicorn pajamas or a plush unicorn toy under the tree, too. Targeting individuals in this way is personalization at its finest, and your customers (and conversion rates) will thank you for it.
Here are six behavioral marketing strategies targeting back-to-school shoppers to launch as soon as the season starts:
1. Send personalized emails based on YoY data.
It’s no secret that 1.) kids are hard on things and 2.) they’re always growing, so many of the same items need to be replaced each year—from backpacks to blue jeans. Schools also send similar shopping lists no matter the grade level, making some returning customers (especially those who haven’t shopped since last back-to-school season) prime targets for year-over-year re-engagement. Message these shoppers product recommendations based on the purchases they made the year prior to help make their decision and the purchase process quick and painless.
2. Incorporate post-purchase product recommendations.
Back to School is a great time to give shoppers a reason to come back and shop again soon (and not wait until next school year to return to your site). Engage and upsell these customers with a discount on their next order using multiple campaign drips to remind them of the nearing expiration of their offer. Also feature unique product recommendations based on past purchase behavior or category affinity to further pique their interest.
3. Implement Dynamic Cart Threshold to boost sales.
Increase conversion and average order value by featuring incentives or discounts to get back-to-school audiences to spend more. With Dynamic Cart Threshold, personalized messaging appears across the site and within the visitor’s shopping cart, encouraging them to spend more in order to qualify for the discount. Once a customer is eligible, show messaging in the cart to reinforce the qualification with a promo code reminder (e.g., “If you spend $100, you’ll receive 50% off your highest priced item.” or “You’re $5 away from free shipping!”).
4. Leverage your storefronts with post-purchase campaigns.
For reasons of convenience, some parents may prefer to venture in-store for back-to-school shopping—they can walk away with products the same day, their kids can try on different sizes in-person, they can use in-store only coupons, and the list goes on. In a recent study, we also found that 80% of stay-at-home parents (who have the availability to shop during the day) say they shop in-store because of boredom. Back to School is an essential time to take advantage of the extra foot traffic to brick and mortar locations. Track the purchase behaviors of these customers to deliver personalized follow-up emails featuring relevant items or promos based on what they bought in-store.
5. Launch back-to-school specific nurture campaigns.
Parents face so many distractions that may keep them from completing their search, especially with kids in the picture. And oftentimes shoppers want to research and see what’s out there before making a decision. Nurture these customers along by triggering emails featuring new, top-selling, and sale products prominently from the categories they’ve clicked, and be sure to include category navigations, search facets, and product images to help them recall what they were looking for in the first place.
6. Kick off a welcome series for new customers.
For those new customers you acquire during the back-to-school season, make sure they feel acknowledged and appreciated with a welcome email series. Offer a discount on their next purchase to make sure they choose you the next time they shop, and leverage their previous browse and purchase activity where available to provide them with unique messaging and relevancy from the first touch. Welcome series campaigns build the foundation for lasting customer relationships and can also help get them hooked right before the holiday season. Perfect timing.
If you’re not implementing these campaigns now, it’s not too late to weave them into next year’s strategy—or better yet, into your upcoming holiday plans. If you don’t, chances are your competitors will beat you to the punch.