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Top Back-to-Work eCommerce Trends and Practices that we spotted

05 September 2022

The Back-to-School season is about to be over, and here at Sooqr we’ve spotted some eCommerce trends and practices that you want to implement on your eCommerce Back-to-Work season strategy and beyond, as they will surely apply to the coming eCommerce high-seasons in 2022.

First off, the Back-to-school shoppers are breaking the record-setting BTS 2021 season for clothing, classroom supplies, and new technology. According to 2022 Deloitte’s back-to-college survey, this year BTS has increased online retailers’ revenue by around 10% because of inflation and a (still high) demand for IT tech tools to meet the new hybrid ways to deliver education. 

The new ways of delivering education are just one example of grand trends that are here to stay after the BTS season. We’ve summarised a few others that will accompany you through the current Back-to-Work season and beyond:

1.Optimise your eCommerce content and messaging: Some ideas for websites involve using popups to bring attention to new sale items added, or encourage an email signup. You could also run special promotions or incentives for back-to-school merchandise. You could even try using callouts for items such as “perfect for back to school” or “get back-to-school ready” with specific items, or “the deal you’ve been waiting for” on the occasion of a Black Friday.
Popups and banners are sometimes annoying (you just want to close them to continue shopping). A brilliant way to promote your items is to run Product recommendations instead. With Product recommendations you can insert recommendations carousels on your eCommerce to allow your visitors to recognise and purchase the products they wanted, but they didn’t know yet. This way, you can blend the back-to-school items you have on catalogue into your shopping journeys, avoiding any pop-like disruption. 

2.Parents and college students have a busy life. Help them out with a great UX and with Email marketing: for back-to-school purchases, visitors spent less time than usual on their device, probably because of their holidays, or the summerish and warm period. 
First off, try to make your shopping experience as smooth as possible. With an optimized Site search experience you allow your customers to find the very items they’re looking for on your webshop with fewer clicks. They can find the wanted items directly by searching for them, without the need to land on many different product pages.
Secondly, you can use your email marketing to remind busy visitors. If your customers have visited your site but left the checkout page just before purchasing, no worries, you can still win them back. By sending an email reminder, you can convert some of these school shoppers into customers. Incomplete-order emails have pretty good conversion rates. 

3.Your shoppers expect Personalisation: according to ClearSale, consumers aged 18-34 want to see featured items picked just for them online, rather than wasting time shopping in the old brick-and-mortar stores. Accurate personalization can set you apart from competitors by making it easy for busy back-to-school shoppers to find exactly what they need.
Customers with a high intent to buy are going to use your internal Site Search to find the very product they’re looking for. By running Personalised Site Search on your webshop, you’ll be able to anticipate the items they search  for during the BTS and similar seasons, and make them readily findable on your webshop.
For example, families with elementary-age students may quickly find all the required classroom supplies while browsing your online store, or to get regular deliveries of consumables like sticky notes, notebooks, pencils and tissues.

4.Give BTS shoppers different Payment Options: this is an evergreen piece of advice in the current eCommerce landscape. Simply put, younger shoppers search for convenience, while 44% of 55+ year old shoppers say the possibility of online scams deters them from shopping online more often. Digital wallets address both issues by storing card data for shoppers and by shielding it from retailers at checkout. Customers who can pay easily without security fears are more likely to complete checkout.

5.Spending has been higher, but not equally distributed over all channels and product categories: high inflation and a commodity approach to BTS goods is leading to needs-based and price-based decisions. BTS shoppers largely see school supplies as a commodity, meaning price and value are key drivers of purchase decisions this year (similarly to Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays). This means that eCommerce businesses are in a good position to capture the demand in similar periods. In fact, big online retailers (77% in 2022 vs. 71% in 2021) and online-only retailers are the leading retail formats that parents planned to visit for BTS shopping. Definitely good reasons to engage in your eCommerce conversion optimization!

Also, this year the category that experienced the highest increase in sales was Technology products (+22%), given the tendency to anticipate inflation and to meet the new hybrid ways to deliver education. The ones that suffered the most are those that consumers feel can be postponed or even cut: Household furniture sales dropped 15%, and College & school supplies (-10%) are not necessary anymore, considering that more and more educational activities pass through screen devices. 

6.Get prepared for inventory issues: Out of stocks are invariable for even the most prepared retailers. Even still, there are ways to mitigate this risk and improve the overall customer experience. If an item has gone out of stock, the most important thing is to ensure that you aren’t losing the sale. Leverage your webpage, email, or SMS/Whats App to highlight similar products and sustain their interest. Timing is everything – you’ll want to act fast before they run off to a competitor.

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