Back-to-School Marketing: Capitalizing On In-Store Purchases

August 9, 2016
By Phil Davis

back-to-school_marketing.jpgAccording to the National Retail Federation, families are expected to “spend more freely” this year on school and college supplies—$7.8 billion more. For retailers, this means major opportunity to see a spike in sales. The key to capitalizing on the second biggest shopping season of the year? Bring in-store and online experiences together.

This will require the collection of key data, and the conversion of that data into calculated action. It also involves leveraging real-time data to provide a personalized and relevant shopping experience for customers the moment they enter your store. With the majority of back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers already beginning their retail excursions, there’s no time to waste.

Here are some tips to help you leverage data to capitalize on in-store purchases through your back-to-school marketing:

1. Capture Email Addresses at the Point of Sale

Email helps retailers better understand their customers. It also provides a way for brands to interact with their customers outside their brick-and-mortar walls. Expand your subscriber list by asking for email addresses at the point of sale. Integrate your POS software with your email marketing platform to automate data migration.

NOTE: Just because a customer provides an email address doesn't mean they wish to receive your marketing messages. Cashiers should ask the customer’s preference. Would they like to receive special offers and information? Or just an email receipt of their transaction?

2. Use Email Intelligence

Email intelligence collects valuable demographic, interest and purchase data by aggregating website registrations, public records, transactional information, census data and more.

It also helps retailers market with context. Just because a customer purchases a product doesn’t mean the product is a true and accurate depiction of their interests.

With email intelligence, you gain a deeper understanding of exactly who your customers are and what does interest them. Retail marketers also will be equipped to better segment their marketing lists to send highly personalized and targeted email offers.

For example, if your demographic data suggests a customer is a college student, offer a student discount to draw them back into your store.

3. Translate In-Store Analytics Into Online Marketing Strategy

Traditionally, in-store analytics are used to guide in-store action (such as changing out a display or offer a sale on a specific product). But the shopping path your customer takes, the order in which they buy products, and how much time they spend in-store is all important information that also can be used to guide online ad placement, website design, and of course, customized coupons to guide customers back into your store.

4. Use Real-Time In-Store Analytics

Seventy-five percent of shoppers use their mobile device in-store to self-educate, check prices or make online purchases. Some retailers are capitalizing on this trend by using smart beacons or Wi-Fi that communicates with the customer’s smartphone to send coupons via email while the customer is still in-store.

NOTE: Be sure your email marketing campaigns are created for mobile. A poor mobile experience will disrupt your customer’s shopping experience. Here are 4 Tips for Better Mobile Email Marketing Design.

5. Convert Marketing Metrics Into In-Store Action

As you feature different products in your email marketing campaigns, track and evaluate which campaigns perform the best (open rate, click-through rates, shares). This is an excellent indication of which products to push in-store.

Increasing sales this back-to-school season will depend heavily on how you use data to attract customers and create purchase opportunity. When correctly converted, data is capable of creating a personalized, relevant, time-weary, contextual shopping experience for each customer that inspires more purchases and, most importantly—patronage.  

Looking to enable multi-channel marketing and connect with customers across multiple platforms? Match hashed emails with your direct mail list to grow your data. Get your free email match test now!

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