As we near Labor Day, it’s officially back-to-school shopping season!

Back-to-school shopping is a busy time for retailers:

  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts spending on back-to-school items will reach $26.2 billion in 2019
  • Data from Deloitte predicts that back-to-school spending will reach $27.8 billion or $519 per student this year, up from $510 in 2018
  • Deloitte also predicts that 29% of the average back-to-school budget will be spent online this year — up 6% from 2018

If you sell on Amazon, this time of year can be present a big opportunity for sales: Nearly three-quarters of US moms plan to shop for back-to-school supplies on Amazon this year. 

Want to make the most of Amazon back-to-school shopping season? Here are four things you need to know.

1. Promote the right products

Do your products fit the back-to-school theme?

Amazon’s back-to-school shopping section — Happy School Year — highlights products in three categories:

  • School supplies (pencils, binders, markers, etc.)
  • Clothing and accessories (don’t forget the backpack!)
  • Electronics

If your products don’t fit into those three categories, don’t worry — household cleaning supplies and health/personal care products also see spikes in sales during the back-to-school season. 

At Tinuiti, we see the biggest lift on health and beauty products (HPC) and other replenishable CPGs during the back-to-school shopping season.

Here’s a sample of the highlighted products on Amazon’s back-to-school store right now:


If you sell cleaning products, health and personal care items, or any of the back-to-school classics, make sure you put your Amazon advertising budget behind those products. By getting your most relevant products in front of back-to-school shoppers, you can set yourself up for success this season.

2. Update your ad creative

Adding back-to-school language and imagery to your Sponsored Brand campaigns this season can help show customers why they need your products for back-to-school. 

Our experts recommend to create new ads with specific headlines that show why you’re relevant during the Back-to-School season — don’t just rely on your current messaging.

Kellogs has this school day-themed banner ad on Amazon’s Happy School Year page:


Click through, and you’ll see that they took the theme one step further, building out a Brand Store with a back-to-school theme:


Lysol follows a similar strategy — combined with a back-to-school sale:


That banner leads to this landing page, complete with a chalkboard motif and separate sections based on students’ ages: 


You might not have the same marketing budget as these mega-brands, but their copy and graphics can inspire your future back-to-school-themed Sponsored Brand campaigns. 

Here are some examples of benefits to highlight in your back-to-school ads:

  • Crossing everything off the school supply list
  • Keeping your family happy and healthy
  • Saving money and time by doing back-to-school shopping online


3. Boost your marketing budget for top-performing keywords

If you have room in your budget to ramp up your Amazon ad spend, now is the time! 

To boost sales, the Amazon reps we work with at Tinuiti recommend raising campaign budgets around 2.5x to 3x during this shopping season. (To give you an idea of how popular Amazon back-to-school shopping is, that’s also how much they recommend raising your budget during Prime Day.)

How can you figure out which products to boost the ad budget for?

Look at which products, keywords, and campaigns performed the best during Prime Day. Prime Day is the unofficial start of the back-to-school (online) shopping season, so sales during that shopping holiday can be a great predictor of school supply sale success.

4. Know your audience

In a recent interview with MudWatt is a science kit that has garnered the attention of not only teachers and parents, but also Forbes, Wired, and TechCrunch – Keegan Cooke, the Executive Director of MudWatt mentions the importance of knowing your audience.

“We have two different types of customers—teachers and parents. For parents, Amazon has been…a huge selling channel, so we’ll continue to use the promotional tools available through Amazon—like the Lightning Deals, advertisements, and other promotions.”

“For teachers, it’s a little different story. We go to conferences and put ads in catalogs. So far, that’s been the most effective way [to market to teachers]—really making that personal connection. The level of trust that a teacher needs with a vendor is higher than with a parent because they’re performing an activity with 30 students at a time.”

5. Be prepared for a spike in orders

With all of the above in place, you’ll probably see a spike in order volume during the back-to-school shopping season. Which is great — if your inventory is ready for it. To avoid stockouts and backorders, make sure that you have the right amount of inventory in stock before you run these promotions.

Here’s what Amazon recommends for keeping what they call “healthy inventory” during popular shopping seasons:

  • Make space: If you have a new product coming in, check your inventory levels and storage limits. Make sure you have room to organize and store your new inventory. 
  • Look at the data: What were your best sellers (or, if your brand is new, your category’s best sellers) during last year’s back-to-school shopping season? How much of each did you sell? How many units of each product did you sell on Prime Day? Knowing the answer to these questions can help you predict sales volume and inventory needs this year (and beyond).

How have you prepared for this year’s Amazon back-to-school shopping season? Let us know in the comments!

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