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Enterprise behavior: The 2019 guide to back-to-school planning

July 10, 2019

Back-to-school season is the second biggest shopping period of the year. In 2018, 29 million households across the country planned to spend more than $27 billion to equip their kids for the upcoming school year. Deploying smart strategies to take advantage of this burst in spending can provide a healthy head start on fourth quarter earnings.

Spending starts earlier than many business owners may assume, and appealing to early shoppers pays off. Around two-thirds of back-to-school customers begin shopping before August, and spend an average $100 more than those who wait until class is nearly in session.

But back-to-school time can mean much, much more than just school supplies. Even as families make the most of summer vacation, anticipating their needs in advance can mean a sizable boost in profit for nearly any type of business. Since young people’s tastes constantly shift, early testing of salability can help inform business strategies as back-to-school season progresses. Read on for strategic tips.

Maximize visibility with smart placement.

Office supplies and paper goods are perennial purchases for most adult customers; kids only covet them once a year. Appeal to young shoppers with prominent visual placement of staple items like backpacks, binders, and art supplies. Keep track of what sells to ensure inventory matches demand with Clover app Shopventory, which can help streamline re-ordering popular items from suppliers.

Bundle goods together for convenience.

Most dorm rooms call for similar home goods—bedding, towels, hampers, clothing hangers—that efficiency-minded customers can buy all at once. Show adults that you value their time and money with easily bundled special promotions, and play into students’ college excitement with displays that help them imagine a fresh start.

Prepare your staff to consult.

Every student these days needs a computer among a variety of other discretionary electronics. But which model and for what purpose? Training staff to field such questions (from adults and kids) inspires assurance that families are making a smart purchase from a business that understands their needs and budgets.

Celebrate the end of summer.

Starting a new school year can inspire mixed emotions for all involved, but one thing it likely means is less family time. Encourage customers to take advantage of the end-of-summer countdown with specials for family dining, like offers for kids to eat free or discounted extras like dessert or themed cocktails for parents.

Package meals to-go.

Quick service vendors can extend back-to-school season with brown-bag meals that families can grab to-go throughout the year. Make ordering ahead easy with Clover’s Order & Pay to seamlessly fit into customers’ morning commute, encourage repeat purchases, and save parents’ time on packing lunch. (They might even pick one up for the office, too.)

Promote creatively around the theme.

Manicures, blowouts, massages, and other spa services may be in order for parents who’ve successfully made it through the season, college kids arriving back in town, or teachers heading back to work. Clover Promos can help target promotions to returning customers, offering special discounts and a fun, seasonally appropriate reason to walk through the door.

Remember to track what works this time around, so you can repeat and adjust strategically when back-to-school season returns next year. Clover and its supporting apps can help assemble a big picture to see which strategies reap the best rewards.


Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.