Back to School Season Is (Almost) Upon Us

by | May 15, 2024

Each year, Back-to-School shopping begins earlier and earlier, with overwhelmed parents and students often juggling multiple lists that grow more expensive seemingly by the day. Here at Infillion, we know that our suite of products is capable of reaching parents wherever they are to deliver relevant, interactive creative ad experiences that cut through the noise and help them navigate Back to School as painlessly as possible. 

Infillion’s Creative Studio decided to dig into the pain points of Back to School so you don’t have to — and we’re reporting back to share some insights and solutions for how brands can really empower back-to-school shoppers this season

First of all, let’s clarify our audiences. Back-to-school consumers fall into two categories: 1) K-12 and 2) College. K-12 shoppers are often parents searching for school supplies that range from pencils and notebooks to backpacks and lunch boxes to calculators and tablets. College shoppers are often students themselves, who are shopping for all of the above as well as for dorm room furnishings. 

Both of these groups are often on tight budgets but face complex school shopping lists and rising costs. This makes them beholden to sales – and the dates for these sales can be unpredictable. The fact that Amazon Prime Day usually occurs around July 11 means that now 56% of Back-to-School shoppers begin shopping in early July, much earlier than they used to and not long after the prior school year ends, putting additional financial pressure on already-stretched budgets. 

In 2023, 67% of consumers indicated that they’d noticed higher prices on back-to-class items. To account for this, we’re seeing increases in comparative shopping ( +2% YoY), shopping more sales (+3%), buying generic products (+4%) and using coupons (+3%). 

So what do we propose to hit these pain points? Bring an interactive shopping experience directly to consumers that helps them solve their Back to School problems themselves. Here are three engagement strategies for Infillion’s TrueX ads that can get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Give Back Information: A Comparative Shopping Experience that provides users with helpful context they can compare-and-contrast about various school supplies.
  2. Give Back Time: An All-In-One Online Shopping Trip with products for every category of Back to School shopping.
  3. Give Back Resources: A Transparent, Dynamic, Flexible Sales-Focused Unit that tells users exactly what’s on sale that they should take advantage of now.

These experiences can be as turnkey or as custom as each brand would like them to be. We can even include additional enhancements, such as Time of Day or Weather-based Reactivity to provide even more personalized recommendations to consumers. 

While everything mentioned above can also apply to college students, we have a few additional insights into the college student population that change our approach to how to ease their Back to School shopping experience.

This is a busy cohort — 51% work full-time, 21% work part-time — so time is a valuable resource and budgets are often tight. Also, 65% of college students regularly enjoy video games, meaning a gamified shopping experience could resonate extra well with this demographic. Here are some ideas for how we can create an optimal Back to College shopping experience:

  1. Give Back Time: Meet Them Where They’re At with an interactive gaming unit using school supplies, dorm decor products, and more. 
  2. Give Back Information: Help With Room Planning by allowing students to explore how different products look set up in a dorm room setting.
  3. Give Back Resources: Create Multiple Entry Points with a location-based strategy that attempts to catch busy students when they’re out and about near brick-and-mortar locations.

The sky’s the limit for how creative we can get with these activations. To appeal to students hungry for innovation, we can include state-of-the-art enhancements such as Voice Activation where the user can speak to command the action, or a Second-Screen Experience where the user can control what’s happening on their TV screen with their phone. 

Our strategic approach to Back to School has worked well in the past, resulting in an average BVCR of 100%, CTR of 3.4%, 56s time spent, and 2 interactions across past Back to School campaigns. The average Back to School campaign also drove:

  • +28% Brand Awareness lift
  • +36% Purchase Consideration lift
  • +16% Purchase Intent lift

This can be a stressful time of year for parents and students — but working with Infillion can help ease some of that stress and help create an optimal shopping experience for both consumers and brands.

We’re here to help! Reach out to us for any questions you may have about your Back-to-School campaigns. 

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