The end of summer is nearly here. It’s hard to believe, but Halloween decorations are beginning to appear, and school supplies are out in full force. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend nearly $37.1 billion preparing to send kids back to school over the next few weeks.

And if you haven’t heard already, it is expected that 77% of back-to-school shoppers are planning to head in-store while 33% will complete their shopping via mobile devices. While this gives us some semblance of normalcy compared to the 2020 season, it will be more important than ever for local businesses to ramp up their digital marketing game to capitalize on the back-to-school season.

However, it’s important to remember that back-to-school shopping no longer means just a couple of notebooks and a new box of crayons. The average family with K-12 students is expected to spend $849 preparing for the upcoming school year. Families of college students will spend $1,200. On what you may ask? The list of necessary school supplies continues to grow, not to mention the need for tablets, laptops and calculators. And don’t forget, little Jimmy grew a foot taller over summer break and his jeans now look more like capris? Electronics, clothing and shoes are projected to be the top categories of back-to-school shopping in 2021.

Back-to-school shoppers are looking for three important qualities with every purchase:

  1. Price – good pricing with discounts and offers
  2. Product – wide variety with in-stock items
  3. Convenience – one section/location and easy checkout

So how can local businesses play in this mega-shopping tidal wave? By doing your homework and being prepared! Here are four tips to ensure your business is ready for back-to-school.

Tip #1: Be Mobile

You must be prepared to reach shoppers through mobile—mobile-friendly websitessearch marketing for those “near me” searches and of course, text messaging.

Tip #2: Have Offers

Parents, especially those with multiple children, love a good deal. And during back-to-school shopping, this is on the top of the list. Provide loyal customers with a special VIP discount. Offer new customers an introductory offer. The options are limitless.

Tip #3: Make Sure Google Maps is Accurate

86% of people will look up a business location on Google Maps. If your business listing is inaccurate, you will lose potential customers. Ensure your phone number, address and of course hours of operation, are updated and ready for these active shoppers.

Want to double-check the accuracy of your listings? We have a free tool for you.

Tip #4: Be Social

If you’re not leveraging social media to connect and engage with your audience, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. With social media, local businesses can promote deals, showcase new products, thank loyal customers and even provide helpful information.

Back-to-school season is a pre-cursor to the upcoming holiday season. Ensure you’re prepared with a strong marketing strategy to end your year at the head of the class. And if you decide you need a little help, Vivial is here for you! Contact us today.