According to the U.S. Department of Education, around 77 million students are expected to enroll in schools this fall. That means there is the potential for billions of dollars being spent on dorm and classroom supplies. Yet, the budgets can be limited. In addition, the window is short. Not to mention, those budgets are usually earmarked for certain things and possibly limited.
Nonetheless, the opportunity is there. If you can win those companies, you will get the short-term profits, but may also gain loyal customers for years. This is especially true if you run a grocery or drug store. Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop, a food retail consultancy said, “You have an opportunity to go after an attractive household and catch them leading into a period of time when they are going to be spending a lot of money. The folks who are really the best at this are looking to loyalty programs to figure out what more they can glean from people's spending habits.”
Still, customer needs are changing. You must meet them where they are. Here is how you can use lead tracking software to crush your back-to-school sales.
Drip marketing and lead nurturing
Back-to-school shoppers often have jobs, family responsibilities and more. They won't know about your products unless you share it with them. Since many budgets will be tight, they want to make informed buying decisions. In fact, they may need several days to think on their process and sleep over it. As a result, you need to stay in your prospect's mind with proper lead nurturing.
According to MarketingSherpa, “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.” Through drip email marketing, all you need is one set up. Your customers will then receive an email based on your timeline that shares the features and benefits of your products, any discounts and deals.
This gives your customers the information they need to make their buying decision. There are several services that let you set up drip email campaigns. Once you have a new customer, you want to continue nurturing them for your next sale.
Monitor your sales process
With customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can search through data you already have. How do you follow up with leads and browsers? What system are you using for closing sales? If someone visits your site, how do you track that? With a CRM system, you can ensure you remain consistent with regard to following up with leads and closing sales.
You also want to create a specific back-to-school page on your store. This makes it easier for shoppers to find what they need. Moreover, place all related items and deals in one place in order to make it convenient. Then, make the link easy to find. Use your CRM system to track who clicks on the link in order to follow up via one-click email.
Offer detailed product descriptions
If you have a CRM system, you can track the types of products back-to-school shoppers are purchasing. What they do want is detailed descriptions simply because they do not have the ability to touch the products. The most efficient way of helping them is to offer a lot of information. This includes adding details such as:
This gives your customer a more accurate expectation of the merchandise. Use CRM historical data to understand what types of items customers purchase the most and in bulk. Offer those items, along with their detailed descriptions. This also helps to set you apart from other merchants and makes you appear more trustworthy.
Automate social media
Preparing for a back-to-school sale takes a lot of work. You don't have time to send tweets piecemeal in order to get the word out. Just like your drip email campaign, you want to share your information consistently. So, you should use a system that allows you to create and schedule your tweets in advance. Parents, and students, will be checking their social media accounts for deals. This is why it is imperative to broadcast updates from your company on a regular basis. Plus, it doesn't always have to be about your back-to-school promotion. You can share related articles and even testimonials.
Send out educational content
Since you already have deals, you may also want to offer free content. Back-to-school shoppers are constantly searching for new tips and information this time of year. You will get attention if you offer knowledge free of charge. Regardless of your industry, try to look at any back-to-school angle you can use in your content.
If you sell books, what are the bestsellers for high school students this year? If you sell food, what types of quick and healthy recipes can you share? If you sell shoes, which ones are best for sports, for walking, for biking? Then, share some of your content in your drip email and social media campaigns. Keep track of clicks through your CRM system.
Use high-quality images
The good news is you don't have to load new products everyday. With an automated storefront, you can load multiple products at once and be done with it. Still, you don't want fuzzy images, otherwise, your customers will wonder about the quality of the product. In addition, you want an image of every angle. Again, since customers can't touch or feel the product--they want to see it from all sides. You will gain a competitive edge over stores that have only one image of the product.
Create a charitable side
Customers feel even better about purchases if they know it's doing some good. Many stores feature charitable donations from a percentage of sales. To illustrate, Staples Rewards gives parents the option to earn an additional 2% in rewards for the teacher of their choice. Since your customer will usually attend the same school for several years, this might be a way to gain a loyal buyer. Use your CRM system to get analytics on percentage donated to charity or teachers and share that information with your buyers after the season. They will feel good knowing their purchases served a higher purpose.