As families and students enjoy their summer holidays, retailers are working hard to prepare for the next key event of the year – Back to School.
Harsher retail conditions and lack lustre results over Easter have made Back to School more important than ever. Last year saw the demand for school uniforms, accessories and electronics drive a 2.4% increase in total retail sales over August, according to the BRC. Online sales were key to this growth, recording its largest rise of 11.0% since October the previous year.
So as retailers are putting finishing touches to their digital marketing campaigns, here are our top stats and learnings from last year, and top tips for this year:
1. Up your PPC game from the start of August
While clothing searches peak two weeks before school commencement, the demand for these searches on both paid and organic start to climb from the first week of August. PPC is highly competitive towards the end of August, so prepare your keywords earlier in the month.
2. Know what brands shoppers are searching for
School shoes and uniform searches with brands, such as “Clarks”, “Kickers”, “Sainsbury’s” and “M&S”, were among the fastest growing terms, compared to the previous year. Make sure you keep track of those branded searches related to your product categories.
3. Use fast moving search terms to track new styles
Compared to school uniforms, a key difference for school accessories is the choice of style. 2017 saw the rising popularity of sequin, shimmer and shine and football-branded school bags. Stay on top of 2018’s accessory trends through fast moving search terms and incorporate these into your own product offering, particularly with the World Cup (and England’s recent success!) overlapping this period.
4. Align your digital campaigns to your customer’s pathway to purchase
University and college students want to impress with the latest electronics and laptops. Research on review sites, like IT media and blog sites, begins as early as mid-July. Visits to rewards and affiliates peak toward the end of July, with visits to actual retail sites (like department stores) surging in mid-August. Knowing this, you will be able to plan your display and affiliate strategy according to your customer’s research to purchase cycle.
5. Keep close watch on Amazon and how consumers start their search journey
Amazon was placed first for traffic from stationery & accessories searches and third for traffic from electronic searches. While the share for these products had declined from the previous year (i.e. from search engines like Google), internal searches on Amazon’s site have grown. Over the month of August, searches with the term “school” grew by 25% on Amazon, with searches for laptops and tablets also growing by 5% YoY.
This trend will likely to increase in 2018 – as a manufacturer (or competitor retailer), understand how consumers are searching, navigating and buying products on Amazon. Check out our Amazon Analytics Report to understand how to best position your products.
Want to know how to make the most of your digital marketing campaigns over Back to School? Contact us here for more information.