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Planning For Back-To-School Sales

August 11, 2020 Elder Ocampo

As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. In retail, this means planning ahead for upcoming events so you can promote in advance to boost awareness and interest, and then hit the ground running when the date arrives. Even though won’t start up again for a little while, now is the time to get your back-to-school strategy on lock-down so you can beat competitors to the punch with effective promotions and eye-catching displays.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), coronavirus could push back-to-school spending to a record high. Planned spending for K-12 and college students combined was projected to hit a whopping $101.6 billion in 2020. You definitely want in on that action, whether you sell apparel, bedding and housewares, school supplies, or electronics, just for example. How can you prep for successful back-to-school sales?


First and foremost, you need to plan for promotions, since advertising starts well in advance of the back-to-school season. Price is top priority for many shoppers, with 46% citing it as a main consideration, and 10% of shoppers citing deals as the primary influence on purchasing decisions.

When you have your discounts and deals locked in, you can start promoting on social media with targeted Facebook ads, making sure to optimize for mobile, and considering the potential value of working with influencers to spread your message. Your efforts only pay off if you get shoppers in the door.


Once you’ve got back-to-school shoppers in your store, you need to make sure your prime inventory is easy to spot and reach. This means optimizing your store layout and maximizing displays of sale goods. If you need new hardware, from clothing racks, to wall displays, to bins or shelving, now is the time to order so you’ll have foundational display pieces in place with plenty of time to arrange and stock them leading up to your sales date.

Then you’ll want to plan your layout to ensure shoppers entering your store can find sale items quickly and reach them with ease. Make sure to account for increased flow of traffic so you don’t see frustrating bottlenecks that could impede shoppers from reaching popular displays or getting to the register to complete purchases. Don’t forget to stock up on sale inventory, as well, to ensure a positive purchasing experience for all of your customers.

Practical Considerations

You might be so focused on stocking your inventory and planning your display that you forget about practical considerations for shoppers. Check in on your stock of carts and baskets to make sure you have ample options for shoppers to haul their goods. With planning and attention to detail, you can make the most of the busy back-to-school season.

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