Who can forget the days of back-to-school shopping? I could never resist opening up the Sunday morning paper to pull out the flyers and find the outfit that would be sure to impress my friends on the first day of school.

During that time, it wasn’t uncommon to look at the flyers to make decisions on where to shop based on which retailer had the best deals. But as online shopping becomes a bigger part of everyday life, consumers are beginning to move away from the paper and turn to the web for their sale and coupon information. According to a PriceGrabber survey, 79% of respondents plan to buy their school supplies via ecommerce sites this year.

In addition, the survey found that shoppers intend to spread out their back-to-school spending from July to September as they look for the offers that will give them the biggest bang for their budget. With consumers determined to be selective in their hunt for fantastic deals, make sure your promotions are positioned to compete. A few ideas to consider:

• Make sure your affiliate referral banners highlight the actual savings or promotional component that won your visitor’s attention in the first place. Continue to emphasize this messaging throughout the session to maintain their interest and make it easy for them to determine their potential savings. Don’t forget to execute email campaigns with this same messaging consistency.

Communicate the urgency of flash sales for back-to-school merchandise by including countdown clocks on the product detail pages for items included in the promotion. For even more emphasis, you could run a back-to-school banner on your home page that features a promotion countdown clock to encourage visitors to make their final decisions.

• Since shoppers have extended the back-to-school shopping season, be prepared for the long haul with banners, lightboxes, product badges, and other website features that call attention to either specific back-to-school offers or site-wide savings that this market can leverage to get their bargains.

• Consumers might be shifting more of their spending to the web, but they haven’t accepted the idea of always paying for shipping. Consider shipping promotions (especially when visitors are located near a competitor’s stores) or offering shoppers the option to pick up online purchases at your nearby retail location.

Looking for more successful back-to-school tactics? I’ll be co-presenting on next week’s free webinar, “School Is Now in Session.” Be sure to tune in Wednesday, July 18, at 2pm ET, to learn how to capitalize on this late summer sales blitz.

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