What’s the biggest retail shopping day of the year? It’s not Black Friday. Actually, December 23rd and Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas) have replaced Black Friday as the busiest shopping days of the year, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving through the New Year is primed with shoppers who are ready to spend their money on bargains. But, how can college stores take advantage of this annual gluttony of consumerism?
College stores have a unique set of challenges that most retailers do not face during the holiday season. The first obstacle to overcome is scheduling. With Thanksgiving break and winter break, students simply aren’t on campus during some of the traditionally busiest shopping days. While a Black Friday sale might get some community traffic, without a healthy advertising budget and some clever planning, it probably won’t break store records. The second obstacle is buyback falls in the midst of the holiday hoopla, making time an even bigger crunch.
However, there is still a way your store can capitalize on the customer’s eagerness to buy without overtaxing your staff during an already busy time of year: embrace eCommerce.
Cyber Monday sales are expected to increase 16.5% over 2016.
For the last couple years, Black Friday in-store sales have been dropping, but online sales have been increasing. Cyber Monday was originally created to help boost eCommerce, and it worked. The success of Cyber Monday has spread to additional online shopping “holidays” like Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Green Monday. Online sales have grown year-to-year, allowing people to get great deals without having to brave the crowds or cut their holiday time short.
33% of 2016 Black Friday sales came from a mobile device.
How can a college store maximize their holiday eCommerce sales?
- Spread the word
The holiday season is a busy time for everyone. Let people know what online sales you will have coming up as soon as possible. Highlight a few big or popular items that will be on sale. Share your sales across social media channels, hand out flyers and send emails. You aren’t limited to having sales on certain days. Make them correspond to the various shopping holidays, but feel free to extend or limit sales as much as you want. If you get a lot of interaction from social media, host flash sales that last only an hour to really maximize the shopper’s fear of missing out.
Parents have a 3x higher click-through rate on Youtube ad campaigns during holidays.
- Allow for gift registry
Gift registries don’t only have to be for weddings and baby showers. Let your students register for the spirit wear they have had their eye on all semester, the electronics and devices they covet, and the art supplies or dorm accessories they need. Not only can establishing a gift registry drive student traffic into the store as they are making their wish list, but it will hopefully drive more sales as parents, family members and friends select gifts they know the student will love.
- Don’t forget the alumni
School pride doesn’t end after graduation. While current students might be your biggest market, don’t forget the alumni when planning your advertising. With eCommerce, it’s easier than ever for alumni to pick up spirit wear and merchandise from the store no matter where they are in the country. Work with the alumni association to help spread any special alumni sales or deals you will offer this holiday season.
56% of consumers surveyed by RetailMeNot plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday this year.
How does your store plan for the end of the year shopping boon?