2022 Back to School Ecommerce Prep

July 11th, 2022

Back-to-school season is in session! Time is ticking for parents, students, and teachers as they scramble to find all the essentials for the upcoming school year. From buying notebooks and backpacks to tablets and thermoses, returning to the daily grind can be a challenging yet exciting transition. For sellers, this is the time to kick it into high gear and showcase your goods to eager shoppers.

In this day and age, back-to-school means so much more than paper and pencils. While many kids will be stuffing their backpacks and lunchboxes, some will be homeschooling, or heading off to college, and the ever-fluctuating “new normal” means a much wider range of needs and expectations as the school year approaches. This serves as a great opportunity for businesses of all kinds to demonstrate their value and earn a spot on the list of this year's school necessities.

For many consumers, Prime Day kicks off the back-to-school selling season, with many people looking to stock up on apparel, supplies, and electronics. Now is the time to optimize your back-to-school selling strategy on Amazon to reach parents and students with products that can help them stay on track. Whatever your specialty is, find a creative way to show shoppers how your products can simplify and improve their lives.

Reality is, Back to School Shopping is BIG

Back-to-school is the second-largest season for retailers. Many consider it an indicator of how they will perform during the traditional holiday season, with the late summer setting the stage for the months to come. 

With the rise of inflation, it will be more important than ever to appeal to shoppers with a tight budget and high expectations. Now is the time to ramp up your content optimization and advertising and marketing efforts to appeal to a vast group of shoppers. You can never be too prepared, and these efforts can yield tremendous results.

Standard School Supplies

This year, more than ever before, shoppers are searching for a deal. Consumers have grown frustrated with paying more for everything from gas to groceries and household items, and finding the best prices and products has become a competitive sport. If you’re a retailer, this is the time to show your worth and break out all the stops to get a leg up on the competition. 

Surprisingly enough, total back-to-school spending is expected to reach an all-time high of 37.1 billion dollars in 2022. 84% of shoppers expect to see higher prices and have adjusted their shopping behaviors accordingly. Buyers are starting their back-to-school shopping early and are centering their purchases around retailer sale events. But what are they buying?

The top back to school selling products on Amazon have traditionally been:

  • Clothing
  • Electronics such as computers, phones or calculators
  • Shoes
  • School supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes.

Think Outside the Box

While the need for traditional school supplies will always be at the forefront of parents' minds, so will some other less traditional items. 

  • Desks, Tables and Chairs
    Having a dedicated workspace if you are homeschooling, studying, or just completing your daily homework is a must. Make sure all popular options are stocked, especially affordable and space-saving options.
  • Lamps, Clocks and Timers
    Making sure workspaces are well lit is important. Additionally, many homes only have digital clocks, but it’s important for children to learn how to tell time on an analog clock. Lastly, timers are great to get kids focused for periods of time. Having that countdown can really help ease the stress and clarify when it’s time to work and study.
  • Headphones
    Make virtual learning and homework easier for students and quieter for the rest of the house. Headphones are also great for younger kids who are trying to focus on an app.
  • Organizing Supplies
    Keeping the school day functioning smoothly is an important task. Being able to organize the added papers and books at home can be a sanity saver for many parents.
  • Games, Puzzles, Toys and Books
    Activities for kids to do at home to pass the time and keep their minds engaged is important. Parents never underestimate the importance of an at-home educational tool! With many parents working from home, keeping kids occupied with a worthwhile activity is essential.
  • Décor
    Many parents search Pinterest to help them create a homeschool room or decorative dorm for their school-age children (we’re guilty of it). They search for rugs, prints, frames, signs, bulletin and marker boards - anything and everything to make the room cohesive, functional, and fun.
  • Cleaning Products
    Keeping your classroom, dorm room, and study space clean and sanitary is more important than ever! Supplies such as hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and antibacterial sprays have become back-to-school staples in homes and schools across the country. 
  • Eco-friendly Products
    Environmentally-friendly household items and back-to-school products are on the rise! From zero-waste lunch boxes to reusable thermoses and recyclable binders, consumers are looking for ways to make their daily routine more sustainable. 

These are just some of the many Amazon product listings that could take over back-to-school spending in 2022. Think outside the box and get creative when planning how to present your products to back-to-school shoppers! It’s important to create cutting-edge content and demonstrate your value in as many ways as possible. Shoppers are savvier than ever, and competition can be stiff. It’s vital to develop a plan of attack that sets you apart from the rest.

Standing Out

With shallow pockets this season, many shoppers plan on switching brands to save money. In the eCommerce world, price will likely trump loyalty, although there are many creative ways to draw attention to your brand beyond cutting prices. Retailers can appeal to new and existing buyers by offering exclusive or limited-quantity items or by emphasizing their unique features. What can set your products apart from the rest?

  • Are they sustainable, eco-friendly, or made with recycled materials?
  • Do they come with a warranty or guarantee?
  • Are they easy to clean or maintain?
  • Are they made with durable, weatherproof, or damage-resistant materials?
  • Do they hold their value when compared to other brands or products?
  • Are they made by a small business or with locally sourced materials?

There are so many creative ways to make your business stand out. Will your products make the cut amid soaring competition? Consider optimizing your listings and dedicating a few of the image slots to showing how your product is used by school-aged kids. Don’t forget about the college students who are starting from scratch! They will need all the home basics, from towels and sheets to microwaves, cutlery, and fun décor.

Don't Wait, Make Sure Your Inventory is Ready to Go

We’ve seen how fragile the supply chain can get so plan your inventory early. If you are selling via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) make sure you have inventory in-stock and ready to go. The back to school selling season is fast but can be lucrative.

  • Check Your Inventory
    Know what you currently have available and estimate what you may need to have ready to go. If you are storing your products and shipping them yourself, make sure you have the space to organize and store the new inventory.

    If you are selling FBA, check and restock your inventory. Keep in mind it takes time to label and send in your inventory to Amazon. You don’t want to miss out on potential sales because your inventory wasn’t available.

  • Review Your Sales Data

Look at what items sold well during the back-to-school season in 2021 as well as the items that did well during Prime Day. Use this data to your advantage as you keep an eye on trends. Day-to-day operations can be time-consuming, but analyzing data and staying ahead of the curve is an essential prerequisite for success.

  • Understand Your Shipping Options

If you have inventory, you want to make sure you can move it. In 2022, customers have come to expect faster shipping times than last year. If you ship free and fast, then your products will stand out from the crowd.

Anticipate that consumers will be making last-minute purchases and will want and need those items quickly. If you are able to sell FBA and have that Prime badge, it can work to your advantage and help garner those last-minute sales.

Prepare for Back to School Shoppers

Write for Your Audience
Make sure your title, bullet points, and descriptions are well-written, free of misspellings and grammar errors, and speak directly to parents and students. Help them understand how your product can help their back-to-school life and streamline their daily routine.

Pictures Sell
Create infographics and share lifestyle pictures that showcase your product being used by students and parents. Make images informative and descriptive, and do your best to capture the most important benefits of your products and how they relate to back-to-school.

Set Up Your PPC Advertising
Make sure that you are taking full advantage of this shopping period by targeting the shoppers who are most likely interested in your products with the right PPC advertising options.

Create Store Pages
If you have an Amazon Brand Store use it to your advantage. Create a page specifically for the back-to-school audience. Make it easy for customers. Highlight best sellers and showcase lifestyle images with your products as they relate to school and students. Use these pages to help drive the sale home.

Utilize Deals

Set up coupons, discounts, and promotions to draw more attention to your products. This is a heavy shopping time and parents are looking to save some money on the extensive list of items they need to purchase. Shoppers are looking to cut spending and get the greatest deal possible, so show them how your products and pricing benefit them.

Don't Wait, Set Up Your Back to School Selling Strategy Today

Time is ticking. Early shopping is on the rise, and many buyers are scouring sales and promotions for early holiday gifts as well as back-to-school deals. It’s best to plan and have your listings optimized and products ready to ship - now! By analyzing your data from previous years and Prime Day, you should get a good feel for what consumers are likely to purchase. That should help you have the right amount of inventory on hand.

The next biggest thing is to make sure your listings can be found. If your listings are buried within the search results, you will not be satisfied with how this back-to-school selling on Amazon season turns out.

Make sure you optimize your listings with content and pictures that really showcase your products, answer questions, and show how parents and students can benefit from having your product in their hands. Don’t forget to budget for advertising. It is the fastest way to move up in the search results and ultimately get those sales.

Our team of ecommerce selling experts are here to lend a hand. We understand the intricacies of Amazon and Walmart, and can help you get your listings ready for the back-to-school shopping season and beyond.

To get started, simply sign up for a free consultation.