Just before the school bells ring and children fill the now-silent classrooms, there is a rush to complete last minute shopping. Back-to-school is the second busiest shopping season according to NRF, and it lasts from July, all the way to the end of September. NRF expects the total back-to-school spending to reach a whopping $26.5 billion in 2014. Back-to-college spending is even more – NRF’s survey revealed that teens and their families will spend around $48.4 billion in 2014.

The survey also revealed that 37% of shoppers will use their tablets and 33% plan to use their smartphones to research products. This means big business for online retailers.

However, the cutthroat competition coupled with loss leader pricing strategies make it difficult to increase sales and profit.

We have put together top 5 promotion strategies that will help you make the most of this season. Read on to see if you are doing all you can to boost sales.

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Carefully Compare
The competition is tougher and much wider than you could ever imagine. Right from the store next door, startup e-commerce websites, top players like Amazon and eBay and all the way to AliExpress in China – they are all your competitors. In order to thrive in such an environment, it is crucial for you to compare your promotion strategy against your wide competition.

Check if your competitors are promoting a particular category or brand. It is possible that they are promoting products that are not on sale on your website or vice-versa. Double check your promotions and tweak them as per your findings.

 

Know What to Sell
If you want your products to sell, you need to give customers what they are looking for. While spending on holiday clothing during back-to-school season is not as strong, the spending on electronics has increased by 20%. Hence, it is a great idea to promote the electronics category. According to a survey by Nielsen, spending on the following five categories will be nearly $5.5 billion – office paper and forms, planners, binders and folders, pens and pencils, ink jet and toner cartridges and markers. So, find out which products are trending and ensure that they are in stock. Promoting the right products at the right time is one of the best ways to improve conversion to sale.

 

Do Some Price Yoga
Let your prices practice yoga and be more flexible as per market demands. Price intelligence analysis reveals that Amazon makes over 2.5 million price changes daily. While you may not need to reprice so often, dynamic pricing may be a good tactic. Utilise an intelligence solution that generates real-time data, as it will empower you to price dynamically. Integrating such a solution with your e-commerce platform or setting an alerts system will facilitate repricing and give you an edge over the competition.

 

Know their Moves
If you want to beat the competition, then you need to know their moves. A solution should be intelligent enough to alert you if there are any changes in prices or promotions on your competition’s website. You should have the freedom to set thresholds for alerts, so that if your competitors exceed it, you receive an email alert. How convenient is that!

 

Don’t get Stock Stuck
Being stuck with old stock is any retailer’s nightmare. You can avoid this if you know beforehand what to stock. Gather data from your price intelligence solution and cross-reference it with your sales data; do not stock items that are at the end of their life cycle. Analyse reports from the intelligence solution to understand the kind of products in stock with your competitors, and see how you measure up against them. This will ensure that your inventory contains items that have higher chances of being sold.

 

Bundles of Joy
Smart product bundling not only adds tremendous value for customers, but also enables you to price more competitively and increase your sales. You can bundle popular products with newer and lesser-known ones or bundle products by different brands together to make more sales. Plus, most intelligence solutions find it difficult to track the prices of bundles. So while you can monitor their every move with an advanced intelligence solution, your special promotion bundles will be safe from prying eyes. A product bundle is a steal for customers and a great (and safe) sale for you. So, bundle away!

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Although this season will soon come to a close in Great Britain, USA and Canada, you need to get ready for Australia and New Zealand in January. Revisit your promotion strategies and make sure you are geared to sell during this busy mini-holiday season.

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in Association with

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