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BFS Capital Blog

Back-to-School Marketing Tips for Business Owners

July 28, 2015

The new school year is right around the corner. For some parents, it’s a relief because they don’t have to worry about sending their children to daycare anymore or needing to stay home from work to watch them. For many other parents, they fear the dreaded back-to-school shopping rush and all the time, money and effort that goes into it.

However, the back-to-school shopping madness doesn’t deter parents from spending on school supplies and electronics for their bright scholars. According to the National Retail Foundation’s Back-to-School Spending Survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 is planning to spend $630.36 this year on electronics, apparel and other school necessities. The total spending for K-12 and college back-to-school shopping is expected to reach $68 billion.

Did you know that 44.5% of back-to-school shoppers begin their shopping three weeks to one month before school starts? And 25.4% of consumers hit the stores one to two weeks before the first day of school. Clearly, this time of year is peak season for many retail businesses. Even pediatric medical and dental practices see a spike in business as parents get their kids’ checkups out of the way before school starts. Here are some back-to-school marketing tips for your business so you, too, can get in on the back-to-school action.

Know Who is Doing the Shopping

One of the first things you need to do as a retail business owner is learn who the leading shoppers are. It should come as no surprise to all the dads out there that moms are number one when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Moms usually lead the back-to-school movement, making a majority of the decisions on products and supplies. Understanding this will help you in knowing how to actually sell and promote your products or services.

Generally, some dads may focus more on the bottom line price instead of the way things look or function. Moms, on the other hand, will buy things that are more visibly appealing and will last through the year because they know they don’t want to make this trip again.

For the back-to-school shopping season, you may want to focus on the appeal of your products or services and their overall quality in order to catch the eye of the head shoppers. Keep mom happy and your business is already ahead of the game.

Deals and Promotions

Especially for the families with multiple children, back-to-school shopping can be expensive. Kids want brand new clothes because, “Duh, mom and dad! Everyone knows wearing the same thing as last year is a big fashion no-no!” And as they get older, they take more advanced classes, requiring more advanced technology and electronics. So, what parent isn’t looking for any kind of discount or incentive?

Whether you are a clothes retailer, school or office supply retailer, or even a beauty salon, offering customers deals and promotions is a sure way to drive business.

Design back-to-school flyers or posters and change the theme on your website to reflect the season. You want shoppers to know that you are offering something relevant and beneficial. Come up with a special promotion for teachers or even moms and dads of a student. Promote a family day with free school supply giveaways. Get creative with your incentives and people will be more inclined to see what you have to offer.

Cut the Lines and Go Digital

One of the biggest downsides of back-to-school shopping is the never-ending line at every cash register. This is why many shoppers are now reverting to purchasing their school supplies online. Consumers can shop from the comfort of their own home or while they’re on the run and can avoid the jungle madness at brick-and-mortar shops. Some retailers even offer the option to shop online and pick up in the physical store, providing a faster option to actually have the product in hand.

Keep in mind that about 33% of back-to-school shoppers buy some supplies online and they are expected to spend about $330 on these purchases. As more and more consumers turn to the convenience of shopping digitally, it is in your business’ best interest to make sure that your retail website is optimized for mobile and that your digital marketing campaigns are clicking on all cylinders.

If consumers have the option to avoid the rush on the roads and in stores, they are more likely to take the opportunity to shop online. This would be especially helpful for the families who have children going off to college in a different state. Having the ability to shop online and have everything delivered to their child’s new dorm or apartment can be much less expensive and time consuming than renting and driving a moving truck. It also saves the parents the hassle of dealing with thousands of others scrambling to find what they need before school starts.

Back-to-School shopping has increased over the past 10 years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. What’s changing is the way people shop for the season. Understand who is doing the back-to-school shopping, then offer deals and promotions to attract them to your store and website. Take the initiative to run creative back-to-school campaigns for your business to get the most out of this peak season.

Image courtesy of samarttiw at