It’s that time again: coinciding with the first arrival of rain for many months here in Merchant Advance’s home city of Vancouver, the end of August signals the transition between idyllic summer hours and the return, for young folks and higher education students alike, of the schoolday grind.
Small businesses generally concentrate on one or two peak periods that help define their fiscal year: for many, the winter holidays are a crucial moment that may determine the state of one’s balance sheet throughout the year. The back-to-school period, often neglected in this regard, should be at the front of small business owners’ minds in many sectors. A 2014 survey of American markets predicts that the average family will spend $669.28 this year outfitting young students for the return to classes. The average college student will spend $916.48.
Small businesses should also take note of the fact that back-to-school shopping is one of the few areas not to be dominated by e-commerce. Fewer than 20% of students and parents make half their back to school purchases online. This creates an opportunity for local, brick-and-mortar retailers. Local targeting will help your business reach the most interested audiences – and cut through the noise of big-box retail advertising designed to monopolize attention in the lead-up to September.
The transition to school days also inspires many consumers to begin tackling long-put-off lists of refurbishments, to-dos and tasks that may have gone by the wayside in the summer. This is the perfect moment to engage them with specifically tailored marketing efforts and promotions! In many parts of Canada, this means preparing for the winter months ahead: anticipate the needs of your market to best position yourself ahead of the game.
Going back to school is not just an opportunity for students: your small business can also set itself up to learn some valuable lessons in this important part of the calendar year!