Back to school is one of the most important times of the year for many retailers. And since some students * actually * wanted to go back to school this year, companies saw an opportunity to make capital.
Teenage dream: Clothing brand Francesca, for example, used every digital tool it had to reach customers – from social networks to emails to search, CEO Andrew Clarke told Retail Brew.
- This year, Francesca added TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest as new channels to diversify messaging across social platforms.
- Marketing spending has returned to pre-pandemic levels after falling last fall, he added.
“We are constantly monitoring where our customers are engaging and developing our marketing strategy and media plan to make sure we appear on the channels they prefer,” said Clarke.
In time: Back to School is Francesca’s second largest revenue driver after the holidays, according to Clarke (although he didn’t give any specific numbers) and an opportunity for the company to “test new product and advertising ideas.”
“For example, last year we tested loungewear and it sold out within three weeks. And we’ve made this a brand new category for Francesca, ”said Clarke.
- Earlier this year, the company launched a tween line called Franki, which was a big focus of this year’s back-to-school season.
“Our client didn’t start school last year and she hasn’t really bought clothes all fall, especially for activities outside of her own home. Now she wants and needs to clean up her closet, “said Clarke.
- Francesca’s sales for this back-to-school season were about 20% higher than a typical week.
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Connected commerce – the idea that customers don’t think about buying from channels, be it social, DTC, or offline – is changing how and where brands spend their advertising money, Josh Dreller, director of content marketing at Skai, told Retail Brewing.
“The most successful companies are those that desilo pretty much all of these channels,” Skai said, referring to the Amazons, Targets and Walmarts of the world. “There is a lot of waste of budget that could result in people buying anywhere, anytime.”
Digital first: General Mills heard that loud and clear this year. The CPG giant has stepped up its Box Tops for Education campaign – with the help of e-commerce marketing analytics firm MikMak – and added a click-to-buy option for shoppers, Stephanie Steidl, Morning Food Commerce Manager, told Retail Brew.
- The top-selling channels among MikMak’s customers are Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO, told Retail Brew. And this back-to-school conversion rate this season was 6.4%, compared to 4.8% a year ago. — KM