Back-to-school shopping is back — spending will reach $74.9 billion this year, according to National Retail Federation estimates, making back-to-school the second biggest consumer spending season of the year, other than the winter holidays. The NRF also reports that consumers are planning to spend more across every product category. While this spend increase is great news for marketers, they will also likely need a to adjust their strategies because how their consumers shop has changed. So, how will consumers discover and purchase new products this back-to-school shopping season?
Social media will have a large impact on consumer purchases this season, with 64% of back-to-school shoppers reporting that social media will play a role in their back-to-school shopping.
As parents scramble to prepare their kids for school, they’ll lean on the people they know to discover new products, reviews, recommendations, promotions and, of course, sales. A Crowdtap survey of more than 850 men and women found that 45% of those shoppers surveyed will search social sites for peer product reviews and recommendations.
Besides Facebook and Twitter, shoppers will also turn to Pinterest for “pinspiration” and new product ideas, according to 56% of respondents. About 4 in 10 of those surveyed will also use Pinterest to search for deals and discounts.
There’s still time for real-time. While many marketers may think that they’ve already missed the back-to-school marketing window, there are still opportunities to market with consumers in real-time, as 25% of families will shop one to two weeks before school, up 21% from last year according to the NRF. A few quick tips:
- Get creative & fast with your social media customer service. These inquiring consumers are highly engaged and ready to share with their friends. Strike while the iron is hot with rapid responses and extra content that offers real value such as discounts or ideas.
- Inspire your consumers with “pinspiration” and easy pinning. Parents don’t always know “what’s hot,” but you do! Create boards that include trending products and great deals. Leverage Product Pins to make online purchases easy, and update all of your pin copy so it’s current.
- Offer promotional codes. Research by Thomson Reuters found that sales and special offers were the leading influencers in aiding a purchase, according to 54% of back-to-school shoppers. Additionally, Crowdtap’s survey reveals that 26% of consumers are most likely to share digital coupons, and 46% will update their Facebook status to share great sales or deals they’ve found.
Marketers have a real the opportunity to partner with their consumers and market with them instead of marketing at them across social media. Find more great data and insights in this Back to School Shopping infographic.
Anna Kassoway is the chief marketing officer at Crowdtap, the leading Social Influence Platform, making it easy for top marketers to collaborate with customers, inspire advocacy and drive unmatched social activity. Kassoway leads the consumer and corporate marketing team and has 15 years of digital ad industry experience, including 5 years in executive management positions.