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Three Email Tips to Boost Your Back-to-School Sales Grade

Two of summer’s big holidays are already in the rear view mirror, with only Labor Day on the horizon as people prepare for their families to head back to school. Some people will be back in classrooms before the September holiday, some after, but all will likely engage in some necessary shopping first.

Capturing some of that business should be on the minds of ecommerce pros. Last summer, comScore noted big spikes in shopping activity in July 2013 as consumers hit Fashion & Accessories sites, as well as Consumer Goods sites for school supplies and Coupon sites for potential discounts on all these items.

Online sellers may have seen such a flurry already. For those looking to capture the attention of consumers in these final weeks of back to school shopping, marketing firm Monetate offers some suggestions to reach and convert those on your email lists.

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That virtual coupon cutting by shoppers suggests offering savings to consumers may be a good idea. Citing a National Retail Federation survey, Monetate said coupons influence more than 45 percent of shoppers as they considered where to shop during back to school season.

So sending a coupon to the email list might be a good idea. But that or other email marketing can be improved upon according to Monetate. The key is figuring out who on the list responds well to sales.

Looking at that list data should show who is making purchases during sales. But more importantly, that data may also show which site visitors are only coming to one’s site when a sale or other promotion is in effect.

Those latter shoppers may only show up when there is a discount on offer, and correspondingly have a low average order value. As Monetate noted, these people are showing a motivation that can be targeted with one’s email marketing message.

Even though the calendar is closer to the start of school than the end of it, that’s ok. Monetate, citing PM Digital’s annual back to school trend report, said 18 percent of these shoppers won’t start hitting the online store shelves until a week or two before school starts anyway.

That presents an opportunity to take advantage of urgency with the coupons/promotions one may offer along with targeted email messages.

Monetate suggested bounce-back sales campaigns to motivate people to shop sooner rather than later. That can be reinforced with “countdowns” of sales or free shipping deadlines, or even time remaining in state-specific sales tax holidays.

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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