At the start of July, the Government unveiled plans outlining that schools and colleges would fully reopen in September. With new measures in place to ensure the safety of students, many parents are already planning for their children heading back into classes.

Prepping for the start of school is always a busy time for ecommerce sites, but the effects of coronavirus will mean online stores see more traffic than normal. Many people will still be hesitant about shopping in-store and prefer the safety of home-delivery. Not to mention that kids have been away from school for longer. That will mean they’re more likely to need new uniforms, bags and stationery – along with more novel school supplies like masks and sanitiser.

So, is your ecommerce store prepared to cope with an increase in traffic and orders? Here are four ways that you can get your store ready for the post-lockdown back-to-school rush.

1.Getting found

No matter how many people are flooding to online shops, you won’t get any new orders if customers can’t find your shop. This is where SEO, or search engine optimisation is essential. Having good SEO means your website will rank higher than competitors and place you closer to the top of the list when people are searching for school supplies.
There are many ways that you can improve your SEO from including keywords to acquiring backlinks. Making sure your store is fast and user-friendly is also helpful, as Google will track how many people ‘bounce’ from your website after visiting. While you can make some tweaks yourself, professional SEO services can take away all the legwork and provide better results.

Alternatively, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing offers a more short-term option. Creating tailored ads targeted at the customers you want for the back-to-school rush could deliver instant results. Again, this is something professionals can help with if you want the best return on your investment.

2.Tempt customers with offers

If you want to ensure that online shoppers purchase from you and not a competitor, entice them with offers like free delivery or a limited-time discount. As well as making customers feel like they’re getting a better deal, these offers can increase the amount they spend.

Limited-time discounts add an element of urgency to the purchase, making customers order more as they want to make the most of the discount before it expires. On the other hand, free delivery can up their order total simply to meet a given threshold. If you offer free delivery on orders over £50, for example, someone spending £40 is quite likely to order that bit more to take advantage of the freebie.

3.Improve the user experience for your customers

If a customer clicks on your store only to face repeated pop-ups, slow loading times or technical issues they are sure to shop elsewhere. Slow loading times alone can be enough to send customers packing, with bounce rates increasing from 9% for two seconds of loading time to 38% for five seconds.

Having an easy-to-use store will make shoppers feel confident in purchasing from you and make it more likely for them to recommend it or visit again. There are a number of ways that you can make sure you give shoppers the best retail experience possible.

Make any important store information such as delivery options, returns policies and frequently asked questions easy to find. No one wants to hunt through a website to find the small print. You can have these details included in a footer on your homepage and on a tab in the header that is accessible from every page.

Consider adding a tracking feature. Shoppers like to follow the journey of their packages to ensure that they have left and will arrive on-time. If you can, add a tracking option and provide customers with a tracking reference number in their email invoices.

Improve the layout of your website. If you have pages that don’t go anywhere or shoppers have to click through different pages to get to a specific section they will leave. Store navigation should be clear and simple to follow.

If a customer is looking at a particular product, show them similar products, or different options for that product, such as different colours. Add an obvious cart button so customers can easily view their basket and make any changes and make the payment and delivery forms simple.

4. Add a human touch

If a shopper has made a purchase online and finds it difficult to speak to anyone about an issue, they are likely not to return. Automation is great, but customers still want to know that there is a human component to their shopping experience. This doesn’t mean that you have to man a phone 24/7, however. Adding a chatbot to your ecommerce store is a great way to prep it for the back to school rush.

Customers can ask questions or raise issues to the chatbot which can guide them to the correct information, or just let them know they have been heard. If you do have customer service staff or you deal with customer queries, the chatbot can provide information on when the customer can expect to hear back. This means that shoppers are still able to get in touch and know someone will reply without the need for an immediate response.

Prepare like a pro

Want to make the most of the back-to-school rush? Get help from the professionals at Bing Digital. Whether it’s SEO and PPC to maximise exposure, or tweaks to your site’s design and navigation to give customers the best experience, our team can implement data-driven changes that make a real difference to your bottom line.

Contact us today to discuss your back-to-school strategy.

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