Students are going back to school. Are you excited? Well, you should be! Because this is an opportunity for you to come up with some awesome back to school advertisement ideas and boost your ecommerce sales.
You see, back to school advertisements are not just for stores that sell school supplies. If your ecommerce store is able to capture young customers, chances are, you can capture prospective students with your marketing campaign.
But of course, it takes some research and a little inspiration to come up with back to school marketing ideas. Lucky for you, we’re here to give you that much needed push.
In this article, we will be giving you some valuable tips to get that marketing campaign running and we will look into the campaigns of other businesses to inspire you.
After reading this article, you’ll be attracting back to school shoppers like a pro!
- How Back To School Impacts Consumers And Business
- Back To School Advertisement Ideas
- Early Advertisement Of Back-To-School Promos
- Special Discount Coupons
- Sell The Essentials
- Inspire The Students’ Outfit
- Release A Back To School Collection
- Resonate To Interests
- Look Back At Pop Culture
- Content Marketing
- Back To School Giveaway
- Advertise With Behind-The-Scenes Posts
- More Back To School Marketing Campaigns
- Bottom Line
How Back To School Impacts Consumers And Business
Back-to-school shopping usually starts in early to mid July, right after the celebration of Fourth of July or Independence Day. As such, parents’ and students’ buying decisions are greatly affected when the opening season of schools is near.
In connection to that, business sales are affected, especially those who have products that students and parents find useful and interesting.
In 2022, customers spent most of their back to school budgets on electronics or computer-related equipment with an average spend of $293.05.
Ironically, US parents spent least on school supplies with only an average of $139.56. This may be the result of the shift of schools to digital platforms or online learning. This also explains why electronics topped the expenditure charts.
As shown in the chart above, kids and senior high students chose online platforms as their primary source in their back to school shopping last year.
For back to college consumers, online platforms were also their top sources of school supplies in 2022. Office supply stores, which we assume would be their top choice, only came fourth in the list.
Back-to-School, Back-to-College Spending Plans insights by: National Retail Foundation
In both charts, department stores were their second choice followed by discount stores coming in third place. This means that both types of consumers pay close attention to deals and discounts offered by merchants.
Online stores being their top choice for back to school and college, this presents an opportunity for online entrepreneurs like you to capture a new set of target audience.
However, take note that other ecommerce stores, including your competitors, are more likely targeting the same set of audience.
For that reason, being creative with your back to school marketing campaigns will surely take you a long way. It’s about time you showcase your ingenuity in your marketing campaigns.
Back To School Advertisement Ideas
If you are still fumbling for creative concepts, here are some back to school marketing ideas by different brands that you can emulate to make your store pop out from the crowd.
01. Early Advertisement Of Back-To-School Promos
Apple computers need no introduction. They are known for their simple and minimalist designs on all their devices. But what makes them famous is their unique operating system installed on iPhones, Macs, iPads, and Apple Watches.
This operating system creates an entire ecosystem of interconnected Apple products that owners find very convenient and ingenious.
We all know that Apple products have a premium on their prices. While some people prefer Windows PCs for their affordability (low-range and mid-range products) and flexibility, people who value user-friendliness, security, and durability gravitate towards Macs.
For students going back to school who want a no-fuss computer to accompany their studies, they can’t go wrong with Macs.
Apple doubles down on their efforts to capture young audiences by offering perks and discounts for students. They don’t just advertise early. Their Education Pricing and Student Discounts are up for grabs for qualified individuals at any time of the year. This makes a compelling proposition for students who want a new Apple device (Mac or iPad).
If you have a business whose target customers are mainly students, you can draw inspiration from Apple’s advertising strategy. But if having a year-round promo like this won’t be sustainable, advertising early to brace for back to school is a good idea to spread awareness months before students go back to school.
02. Special Discount Coupons
Staples is known for their wide selection of office supplies, electronics, shipping products, and computer accessories. They also have home furniture and other items such as strollers, personal care, and medical supplies.
Furthermore, they have various products that students need for their back to school.
Since Staples is a huge name in the retail industry, they made sure that they cover as many types of customers as possible. Despite their large inventory, their Shopify store is a breeze to navigate and you will find anything you need with relative ease.
They have a dedicated page, Staples Kids, for parents who are shopping for their kids. Segmented into age groups, products for children at a certain age are included in the collection – making shopping easier.
Staples regularly releases coupons and discount codes, so make sure to check their website for back to school promos.
93% of US shoppers see discounts and offers as an important part of their shopping decision (Criteo). Additionally, 38% of shoppers buy more than they would have originally planned because of acquiring a coupon (Inmar Intelligence).
The statistics above show the significant impact of providing discounts to customers.
Therefore, if your business has products that appeal to students, coupons and discount codes just like what Staples does could help you increase your sales and attract more customers during the back to school shopping season.
03. Sell The Essentials
The opening of schools in the United States coincides with the summer season. Hot temperatures during this season requires people to be more vigilant with their hydration. Students who are treading the hot summer days going to school need to have cold water handy to quench their thirst.
This makes Chilly’s water bottles an essential item in everyone’s – not just students’ – everyday carry. They advertise a guaranteed 24-hours of cold water with their patented technology.
Aside from this unique technology, Chilly’s offers quite a lot of choices for students. From vibrant colors, nature inspired designs, to single colored, matt painted water bottles, they have one for any type of personality.
For those who love art, Chilly’s has a collection of bottles designed by real artists through collaboration.
With their impeccable designs, it makes it hard to find the best one for us. But that’s a good thing because it means more design choices.
04. Inspire The Students’ Outfit
Out of all the brands in this list, Baboon To The Moon is arguably the most youthful and trendiest one in the bunch.
Their website is designed in a way that colors and letters pop out. It is the exact opposite of understated and minimalist. It is very well-designed that despite the bold elements, it isn’t in-your-face overwhelming..
Their website is just part of the story. Head over to their social media accounts and you’ll be greeted with these hip and cool youths going about their days with fashionable products to match.
With young and vibrant faces as their brand ambassadors, one can tell that Baboon To The Moon is after teenagers who want to be trendy.
Baboon To The Moon evokes this persona of a “cool kid” – and they did it very well.
Starting a new outfit trend that appeals to college students is a great idea. And Baboon To The Moon knows this very well because they specifically target youth, and the best way to influence their target customers is by employing young brand ambassadors
If you own an apparel company, there is a lot to be learned from Baboon To The Moon in terms of marketing towards young audiences.
Check out our tutorials on how to create a super Flash Sale section for Back to School Day:
05. Release A Back To School Collection
Cotopaxi is a brand known for selling gears and packs for adventure-minded individuals. They have different types of bags such as backpacks, duffel bags, hip packs, and more. They also have apparels for men, women, and kids.
This back to school season, they released an entire collection dedicated for their audience who are taking a break from adventures and going back to school.
They released t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts with simple designs for those students who want a laidback and easy to pull fashion for that daily grind at school.
Scroll through their collection and you’ll find some items with marked down prices. One of which is their Fuego hooded jacket that is on sale for $165 from an original retail price of $175 – a $110 discount specially for students returning to school.
Do you own a lifestyle brand? Chances are, you have teenagers and college students in your audience. Drawing inspiration from Cotopaxi, you can create a collection specifically designed for your student customers. Pair that with some discount coupons, and you have a high chance of capturing their attention.
06. Resonate To Interests
Notebook Therapy has a collection of bullet journals, stamps, washi tapes, pencil cases, and everything one needs to write down their thoughts, sketch their ideas, and journalize their feelings.
To those who love literature like us, and those who love art, Notebook therapy is a cornucopia of art implements.
Teenage students and even adults who appreciate these kinds of products will surely find Notebook Therapy a very interesting website to behold.
Visit their Instagram page and you’ll be greeted with posts of different users being super creative in designing and using their notebooks. A bit of a warning though, their reels are very immersive that you’ll lose track of time.
You’ll definitely learn a thing or two in their Instagram page – especially if you are selling school supplies or other school-related products.
07. Look Back At Pop Culture
According to Central Community College, Nebraska:
“...popular culture has a significant influence on a teenager's everyday life. Clothing stores, social media and music on the radio are topics that students discuss on a daily basis. Pop culture plays an important role in influencing the way teenagers dress, think, conduct themselves and so on.”
Homesick capitalized on the sitcom’s popularity to captivate newer audiences. They have a collection of scented candles playfully named as Team Bride, Gone Hiking, Yankee Stadium, and more.
In addition to their scented candles, they collaborate with different pop culture brands such as Disney, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and as you have already seen, Friends.
Selling licensed products like this benefits business because they are able to tap into the audience of their licensor.
Collaborating with different brands or licensing their products and selling them in your store might be a great idea if you want to widen your reach this back to school season.
08. Content Marketing
When students look for back-to-school tips online, having an answer to their search queries will help you establish brand awareness.
One way to do that is by publishing various articles related to your products that add value to your target customers. This strategy is called content marketing. Compared to running pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google (which provides an instantaneous spike in website visits), content marketing is more of a slow and steady strategy – played with patience and consistency.
GreekU sells all kinds of sorority and fraternity-related products such as stickers, caps, shirts, and more. Which means they specifically have college students in their list of target audience.
As such, they published a blog that gives tips about outfits on the first day of college. If you look at their list of written blogs, you’ll find topics such as, Quick At-Home Workouts You Can Do in Your Dorm and 9 Budgeting Tips for College Students to Start Saving, among other related content.
The key here is to find what college students are searching for and write an article that is tailored exactly to provide them with answers. This presents an opportunity for you to mention your products or services and how these can help them.
Say you have an online sneaker store, you can write an article about comfortable shoes to wear for students and mention your products in the article. If you have a watch company, you can write an article about affordable watches for college students, and again, you can mention your products in the article.
Paired with search engine optimization (SEO) expertise, content marketing increases brand awareness, builds loyalty, and trust from your customers. More importantly, it boosts a website’s Google search ranking – which contributes to increased page visits.
As an ecommerce business, content marketing must be included in your back to school marketing ideas but it should not be limited to that. Instead, it should be done consistently throughout the year.
09. Back To School Giveaway
One way to attract attention to your brand and increase customer engagement in social media platforms is by promoting a giveaway. Not just any giveaway though, because it should be one that your target audience finds valuable.
Fluf gave their back to school giveaway a little spin as they collaborated with another brand, Bloomere, to award a winner with lunch bags and a $100 dollar gift card. It’s actually a very interesting promo.
And for customers who are looking to save money this coming school year, winning a competition like this will surely sound like a great deal!
On their website, Fluf sells lunch boxes, tote bags, and snack bags. Products that are perfect for students who are about to go back to school. Their back to school giveaway is just right in time for the opening of schools.
10. Advertise With Behind-The-Scenes Posts
According to (hug)london, a UK-based branding and social media management company:
“In recent years—predominantly thanks to the growth of social media—businesses have become a lot more transparent with their audiences. Consumers can frequently witness the inner workings of their favourite brands, which encourages a sense of community. Documenting the behind the scenes happenings shows customers that your business is not static, it’s a journey and opening up invites them to come on that journey with you.”
This means that behind-the-scenes posts on your social media accounts have an emotional impact on your customers. Giving your customers a peek behind the curtains gives them a closer look to what your brand is – beyond what is shown in social media. It gives them a more personal feel of your brand and sometimes, these types of posts are significantly better than studio quality posts.
This behind-the-scenes clip is published on Ruth & Naomi’s instagram page. In the video, you’ll see kids having a great time in their back-to-school photoshoot, and rightfully so, they look as if they are just playing in the studio.
Ruth & Naomi sells different kinds of apparels in their Shopify store. They have clothes made for kids, tweens, and teens. Additionally, they sell other things such as jewelry, bags, and skin care.
More Back To School Marketing Campaigns
Looking for more inspiration, we got you! Here are more back to school video ads from larger brands that piqued our interests.
01. Groovy Kids
Macy’s released this back to school commercial back in 2019. It is a 30-second video that features kids dancing with full energy showing that they are all pumped up for the first day of school.
The retail giant did not promote any of its products in the video. Instead, it just sent a really entertaining video to get kids excited for the school’s opening.
Watch the full video:
02. Online Safety Campaign
This 30-second video is posted by Internet Matters – an organization that promotes internet safety for kids.
This back to school commercial comes with a very powerful message about bullying.
In the video, you’ll see a mom preparing a boy’s school bag while the child is frozen and frowning at the door. The kid can’t speak his mind about the fears and traumas he gets from other kids who bully him online.
These kinds of videos remind all of us about the repercussions of irresponsible use of the internet.
Watch the full video:
03. “I Got This”
This 2017 back to school advertisement by Marks & Spencer is truly a very inspiring one.
This video reminds us of our first day in school – where everything seemed overwhelmingly big, strangers surrounding us, and away from the protecting arms of our parents.
Marks & Spencer’s back to school commercial features a boy walking to school with overwhelming thoughts in his mind. As soon as he reached the campus entrance, he fixed himself, took a deep breath, and uttered, “I got this.”
It is a short back to school advertisement that is not just relatable for kids, but also to adults – reminding us that, “Life is just something we grow into.”
Watch the full video:
04. Dance Battle
Okay, we admit it. We’re huge fans of dancing kids. Who wouldn’t be? They are cute, but they get fierce when they hear the music play.
That’s why this 2016 back to school marketing campaign by H&M made it to our list. The almost 2-minute long commercial features little kids all dressed up nicely and ready for school.
But instead of heading straight to school, they met on a rooftop where other kids were waiting. A little boy walked in with a large boom box, got the music playing and the dance battle began – Step Up style! (the dance battle movie back in 2008).
It was a really entertaining commercial to watch because it featured kids in their own little world.
The school bell rings, and up they went running to their classroom for their first day of school.
Watch the full video:
05. Ryan Reynolds’ Middle School Traumas
When we say that any brand can advertise this back to school season, we mean it.
A liquor brand is the last thing you expect when thinking of back to school ads. But Aviation Gin did it anyway – in a very clever and funny way. Big thanks to Ryan Reynolds’ natural charisma and funny subtle facial expressions.
We are 100% sure that children are not Aviation Gin’s target customers in their commercial. But mixed with spectacular scriptwriting and perfect execution, Aviation Gin just made back to school more exciting… for parents.
Watch the full video:
These back to school advertisement ideas will help you generate some concepts that are tailored to your brand.
One key thing to remember is that effective advertisements make people remember you. And in ecommerce’s competitive nature, standing out from the competition should be your primary goal.
Since you are directing your efforts towards attracting more website visitors, you should also make sure that your ecommerce store can handle the boost in web visits. Good thing is that Shopify stores are designed to handle high traffic. So that’s one less thing to worry about.
If you want to level up your back to school game through your website interface, we highly suggest using a pagebuilder like Pagefly. We have hundreds of ready to use templates. But if you want to implement some original designs, you can do it with our intuitive, no-code feature.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to launch a spectacular marketing campaign for your brand. All you need is creativity, mastery of social media platforms, and ingenuity.
But the most important thing when trying to capture target customers is to stick with your brand’s true identity.