It may come as a surprise but children heading back to school and college is the second biggest retail spending occasion (after the winter holidays). According to a National Retail Federation Survey (NRF) conducted in July this year across 5635 consumers, families of back-to-school kids will be spending an average of $688 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. Similarly, families with back-to-college children will be spending an average of $702 on electronics, furnishings, clothing, shoes, personal care items and school supplies.
Both these groups will account for retail spends worth $72.5 billion. The infographic below highlights the other key findings of the survey.
Why is this story important? It represent a niche business opportunity
Marketing strategies are the most effective when they address an existing customer requirement. The ‘back-to-school’ spending scenario is a perfect example of how growing businesses can target niche business opportunities that are based on customer life events.
Tips for improving online sales for niche customer segments
In fact if you are one of the business’s that is already targeting niche customer segments, then here are some useful tips by Alessandra Colaci, Marketing Manager at Auctiva ( a firm that develops tools for online sellers) on improving your online sales.
Categorize and merchandise to appeal to the niche segment – Pull out the creative stocks to attract attention of the niche segment. Taking the back-to-school example, here’s what you can do – create a separate back-to school shopping category on your website, display colorful banners and offer incentives for buying more than one product. Sell items that encompass all requirements of the target segment. So if you are targeting the college goers you can display garments, electronics, bed sheets and personal care items. For school goers you could try to provide for all the activities which include dance, sports and art supplies.
Keep the product descriptions unique –Original content is a better way of ensuring your website’s search engine optimization. Don’t just copy- paste the descriptions that appear on the manufacturer’s site. Instead write out unique descriptions for all items listed on your online store.
Invest in product visuals – Provide quality images for the products listed. Instead of relying solely on images sent by the manufacturer, shoot original pictures of the products from all angles for an authentic visual appeal.
Lower shipping costs – A recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has debunked the myth that the only way to an online shopper’s wallet is super-fast deliveries. Of the 1500 customers surveyed by BCG, only 9 percent of the respondents stated that same-day delivery was an important aspect of the online shopping experience. In contrast, free shipping (74 percent of the respondents) and pricing (50 percent) were cited as important influencers. But instead of reducing profitability by offering free deliveries, you could consider offering free delivery and returns to customers for purchases made over a minimum value.
Now we apologize if we have published this article a little too late for your business to profit from the back-to-school trend this year. But we do hope that it will get you thinking of other cyclical customer events that may be targeted by your business as well as how you can easily customize your online store to grab a piece of the action and offer true value to customers.