Back to School Shopping in Our New Normal: Tips for Retailers

Back to School Shopping in Our New Normal: Tips for Retailers

Typically, the back to school shopping season is a peak sales time. This year, the back to school season is nothing but full of uncertainty. Since the plans to reopen schools keep changing, parents are taking a wait-and-see approach to buy school supplies. 

Some states intend to return to in-person classes, while some districts are resuming a hybrid approach. Parents are unsure if kids will need backpacks or zoom-friendly shirts. Merchants are unsure of where to focus their marketing strategies. Retailers that are used to having a prime season during July and August, will need to adapt to a changing market.  

In this post, we’ll analyze the impact of the changes and give you tips to adapt to the new normal. 

How Is Back to School Shopping Changing in the New Normal?

COVID-19 is affecting how people work, live and spend. It is also affecting the way we learn. While most schools were closed for two months or more, teachers resorted to alternate methods of learning. This didn’t impress parents, which are concerned with academic readiness for the next grade. 

COVID-19 changed the learning format

According to the Deloitte consumer survey, over 79% of families got digital learning content for school, during school closures, with 32% having classes via live-stream.This requires digital equipment, laptops and desktop computers. 

 However, not all the alternatives were well received by parents, who preferred live streaming sessions and digital learning content to other learning resources. 

There is high uncertainty about the new school season- 

Since it is unclear yet what format will school take place this year, shoppers are uncertain about what to buy and when. Besides health concerns, almost half of lower income shoppers have financial concerns. since they would need to buy technology equipment that is expensive.

The New Spending Trends

Increase in Tech Purchases

Customers want to be prepared. Therefore, parents are shifting their purchases, just in case schools don’t reopen and students’ requirements change. 

There is a marked increase in tech purchases, specially in the category of computers and hardware. In addition, parents are turning into digital resources to supplement or substitute in-person school education. This includes e-learning platforms, licenses for educational tools and digital devices.

Increase in online shopping  

48% of customers still feel unsafe going to stores to make back to school purchases. As a result, online shopping has not decreased. On the contrary, have gained terrain from in-store purchases. Therefore, physical stores are incorporating online stores and applications,  

Another trending pattern is the increase in shopping using personal computers instead of mobile, because of customers staying and working from home more. 

Although consumers still prefer buying school supplies on big retailers, almost half of customers intend to purchase back to school supplies on online stores. Moreover,  online shopping is the preferred way of shopping for higher income buyers. 

Retailers will have to adapt to catch these changes in consumer habits. Now is not the time to wait for what happens with the stimulus and the schools reopening. Companies should pivot and catch the opportunity of back to school sales. 

5 Tips to Adapt your Business to the New Normal

Focus on Online Shopping

Back to school, shopping involves adding up a list of low value items. It is easy to just throw them in the cart while checking off the list. Searching for and adding things to an online cart is often a bit more complicated. 

You can help your customers by easing the online purchasing experience. Features like collection pages that bundle related or frequently used products can ease the customer experience. 

Another obstacle is the shipping cost. Justifying shipping on large purchases is one thing, but school supplies orders are rarely worth paying shipping. To overcome this obstacle, you can offer free shipping with a minimum order purchase amount. 

Shift Your Marketing to Electronic and Technology

Until last year, clothing and accessories were the largest share of the back to school shopping. Uniforms, backpacks, shoes and accessories, for example. However, shopping trends have shifted away from these. Companies should then focus their offers to essentials like pens, notebooks, and technology items.

Improve Your on-site search

Help your customers find what they are looking for by improving your search box. Some pointers that can be helpful:

  • Make the search box visible and at the top of the page. 
  • Add autocomplete to make the search easier
  • Add a “recommended product” feature. This will help you upsell complementary add-ons and show customers related items.

 Use Discounts and Special Offers

Price is still the most important factor in influencing back to school shopping. You can attend to this demand by offering discounts and offers, like bundle discounts or a certain amount off with purchases over certain orders. 

Offer Convenience

Customers demand more convenience than ever because of the stress of juggling work and home life during the pandemic. Nobody has time or patience for long or complicated purchasing journeys. Offer your customers features that maximize their convenience, like same-day delivery, curbside pickup, or a mobile shopping app. 

The Bottom Line

Uncertain times call for innovative solutions. Companies on the back to school market should adapt to these trying times by following these tips: 

  • Shifting into technology and essential items. 
  • Focusing on online shopping
  • Improving your search features 
  • Tap on convenience

Although it is still unsure what shape will take this school year, hopefully, this article can help you convert your visitors and increase on back to school sales. 


5 benefits of presenting product shopping ads to searchers

5 benefits of presenting product shopping ads to searchers

Online shopping is at an all-time high. Recent events have created shifts in shopping behavior and have caused a massive surge in online sales. With lockdowns being imposed across the globe, consumers have been purchasing groceries, medicines, clothing, and other necessities online. Even after the pandemic, this change in shopping behavior is likely to continue and grow further, with more and more consumers now opting to make their purchases from e-commerce shops.

With the growth and the increasing relevance of digital channels, it’s imperative for business owners to implement effective digital marketing strategies, including the use of product shopping ads. Understanding product shopping ads, their benefits, and how to present them to searchers can be crucial for business growth.

What are Product Shopping Ads?

Shopping ads, aka Product Ads, or Product Listings Ads (PLA), are online advertisements that list products relevant to a search query. What sets them apart from text-based ads is that they feature the product image, the product name, its price, the name of the seller, and promotional copy. The images and product information make it easier to attract potential buyers.

Benefits of Presenting Product Shopping Ads

Presenting shopping ads has a host of benefits for e-Commerce and online shops, resellers, and more. Here are five advantages to presenting shopping ads:

  1. Your products are featured on top of SERPS. Product shopping ads appear where users can see them: at the top of search engine listings. Your products would have higher chances of being noticed by online shoppers when your product listing appears first on search results pages. Moreover, the people who would see your ads are those who are actually looking for your product or a similar one in the same category. Since shopping ads appear mostly in organic search results, having your products featured increases your chances of attracting high-intent buyers.
  2. You increase the chances of getting high-quality leads. When you provide relevant information along with an image, you’d be efficiently summarizing your product for shoppers who tend to click on an ad only if they’re interested in the item. By giving them enough information as quickly and as enticingly as possible, you’ll capture their interest and accelerate their purchase decision process. Through shopping ads, you’ll be able to generate high-quality leads that convert to sales.
  3. Get lower bounce rates. Shoppers are less likely to leave a site immediately when they already know what to expect. They are less likely to bounce as they usually click on an ad when they are likely to buy the product.
  4. Product shopping ads get higher conversion rates. Consumers are attracted to visual cues and tend to pay more attention to aesthetically pleasing ads. Because shopping ads feature product images, they’d be able to stand out more and are more likely to prompt a searcher’s interest. Also, shopping ads appear on organic user searches. Thus, in terms of targeting and conversion, shopping ads are much more effective than text-based ads.
  5. Gain broader reach and better engagement. With shopping ads, there is no need to bid on various keywords separately. Shopping ads show up for more related keywords, so your products appear whenever they are relevant to the search. Moreover, your product listings can possibly appear more than once for a single search query. This means that two or more of your products can appear in a single search results page.

How to Present Product Shopping Ads

Effective shopping ads capture the attention of potential buyers and entice them to click on the ad to know more about the product and to complete a purchase.

To achieve this, your ads should be visually appealing. The quality and style of your product photos are a crucial part of your listing. Make sure that you use only high-quality images that highlight the best features of your products.

Another thing you should pay attention to is your product descriptions and any promotional copy. Make them as accurate but as concise as possible. A catchy image captures interest, but a killer description gets the click.

Product Shopping Ads that Turn Searchers into Buyers

When creating your digital marketing strategy, utilize the power of product shopping ads in attracting more buyers, getting higher conversions, and generating more sales. Something as simple as adding a shopping feed to your eCommerce site or web pages can significantly increase your brand awareness, customer engagement, and business profitability.

Programmatic Market for Native Growing

Programmatic Market for Native Growing

Banner ads have been around since the 1990s, but they haven’t changed much since then.

You would think with advertisers’ insistence on using banner ads that they would be bringing in massive clicks and sales. But they’re not.

Actually, the conversion rates for banner ads are abysmal. So why do advertisers continue to invest in them?

Part of the reason is that they don’t know what else to do. Part of the reason is that they are just used to banner ads, and they don’t know how to effectively translate their strategies into other formats.

Native advertising has emerged as an excellent alternative for reaching audiences in the age of ad blockers and consumer dissatisfaction with online advertising. Yet relatively few brands have embraced this form of advertising, despite its proven effectiveness.

That is changing. The programmatic market for native advertising, especially, has been on the rise. Here’s a little more about this market and why it is growing:

What Are Native Ads?

Perhaps the reason why there is some confusion about native ads and how to use them is that they are designed to not look like ads.

Instead, they are designed to look like editorial content or like other elements originating on the site, such as navigational graphics. The ads are designed to have the same look and feel as elements on the rest of the site, such as having the same font or colors in them.

Most often, native ads are sponsored content, such as articles that are about a topic related to the advertiser and that include a link to the brand or a plug for one of its products. Some native ads can also be reviews or tutorials.

Native ads can also be videos, photos, and infographics. There really isn’t a limit on the format other than that it must take the same look and functionality as the items already on the site.

Why Native Ads Work

Native ads are likely to be here for a long time after banner ads are dead and gone, primarily because they are so effective.

Editorial native ads offer real content for users beyond the basic sales pitch. They give people real answers and real solutions to their problems. They tell stories. They inspire. They provoke emotion.

Therefore, users are much more likely to pay attention to native ads and to stop and read them. They are more likely to feel engaged – and as any advertiser will tell you, if you have engaged your audience, you’ve won half the battle. When your audience is engaged, they are more receptive to your message and more likely to act.

Native ads also draw people in just by virtue of not turning them away. They don’t set off most people’s radar for advertising, so people can actually give them a chance. Perhaps even more importantly, they don’t set off the radar of ad blocking software, which can make it so that users never even see ads on the page.

Growing Market Share

The rise of native advertising programs has contributed to the growing market share of native ads.

Experts have said at industry conferences and in articles that the share for programmatic native is growing rapidly as advertisers have realized its effectiveness. Some say they expect spending to double in the coming year.

In particular, programmatic native is growing in popularity. Programmatic native is the automatic placement of native ads based on user-intent signals. Not only are these programs successful because they are using native ads that are already primed to get more attention and more engagement from users, but also because they deliver ads that are highly targeted.

In-Feed from CodeFuel is the optimal solution for programmatic native. In-Feed is powered by a proprietary technology that taps into the same science driving artificial intelligence.

In-Feed is designed to quickly process reams of data about users and turn it into actionable insights for the best match between the native ads and the users seeing them. It takes into account things like browser history, device being used, language, location, and more.

In-Feed also provides solutions for mobile advertisers. Right now, the mobile market does not have many solutions, so this option provides a needed service for advertisers looking to connect with the growing mobile population.

The comprehensive services provided by In-Feed are designed to increase profits with a smaller investment. The program is designed for both advertisers and publishers. Those who use In-Feed to publish ads on their site can increase their advertising revenue by getting more clicks and conversions from the highly targeted ads.

Programmatic native is only going to become more important as the online advertising landscape becomes more challenging. Now is the time to start adopting native ads if you have not already, and then to incorporate programmatic native advertising in your outreach. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results you get.

How Programmatic Native Can Encourage Brand Loyalty

Increased sales are important, but if you don’t have loyal customers, they are only half the battle. You will have to keep fighting for every new sale you get, which means you never know where your next success will come from.

But if you have a loyal customer base, you know that your current customers will buy from you again and again and they will refer other people to become customers. The marketing work you already did will pay off many times over.

There are many ways to build brand loyalty, but programmatic native advertising is one of the most overlooked. Here’s how this relatively new advertising option accomplishes this for brands of all types:

Creates an Excellent User Experience

Native advertising is not like other advertising that today’s online consumers are so used to – and so tired of seeing.

It is designed to have the same look and feel of the site on which it is published, so it does not stand out and does not distract from the browsing experience. Native advertising can also take the form of editorial content, such as articles, reviews, tutorials, and interviews.

Native ads offer the reader real value in terms of useful information or actual solutions to problems they may be experiencing. They don’t just make a pitch for a product or service.

By preserving the user experience and offering real value for the user, native ads engender positive feelings toward the brand. They give the user reason to enjoy the brand and to return to it time and again even if they never buy anything. That positive foundation is key to building a relationship with the brand and loyalty to it.

Reaches the Right Users

Marketing to the wrong users is just barking up the wrong tree and wasting your time.

Not only will those users not be interested in what you have to say, but they certainly won’t stick around long enough to begin to feel any loyalty to your brand.

Programmatic native advertising is powered by an advanced algorithm that determines the right ads to show the right users. It looks at reams of user data to understand their interests and needs so that it can quickly determine the right native ad to show.

By getting the right placement of ads with the right users, programmatic native promotes a positive relationship between the brand and the users, beginning the road to a loyal relationship.

Creates Brand Exposure

Loyalty has to start with your customers knowing your brand. And the best way to do that is to get more brand awareness.

Native advertising programs help you get your name out there in ways that traditional advertising can’t.

Think about it: When your banner and display ads are being hidden by ad blocking software (which is being installed in record numbers) and the other users are just outright ignoring or avoiding your ads, how are you going to reach new people who don’t know about your brand?

You need ads that are going to get seen. Native ads do not attract the notice of ad blockers, and they do not raise the ire of users. Therefore, people have more opportunity to see the ads – which means they have more opportunity to see your brand name.

Sometimes, all it takes to get brand exposure is to have your name constantly in front of people. Over time, they will automatically think of your brand when they think of the type of product or service you sell.

The Optimal Solution

Getting the best results from programmatic native ads requires choosing the best program.

In-Feed from CodeFuel is the optimal solution for brands of all types and sizes. It will help brands increase exposure, encourage customer loyalty, and increase sales and conversions.

In-Feed is fueled by the same technology that powers artificial intelligence. It uses predictive technology that tries to put the perfect native ads in front of the user based on large amounts of data analyzed and learning behavior over time. It takes the guess work out of your advertising and audience research, and it helps you to get more sales and conversions. It also distinguishes for mobile users, which are fast becoming the primary user base online. It is one of the few native ad solutions that does distinguish for mobile.

In-Feed also allows publishers to increase their ad revenues, which is an incentive to get more people to join. The more sites that are part of the network, the more exposure brands can get by advertising on it.

Native advertising is the solution of the future. It promotes visibility even in the age of ad blockers, preserves the user experience, increases sales, and promotes brand loyalty. My advice? Make sure that you are using the right solution to automate your native ad campaigns and get the maximum results from your investment.

How Programmatic Native Advertising Will Increase Your Profits

Success with advertising is not just about changing the strategies that you use, such as appealing to emotion in one campaign or using an eye-catching and funny series of photos in another.

To continue to reach the customers you want and to remain relevant, you also have to change the formatting of your ads and the way you run your campaigns. The online landscape changes too frequently for you to remain complacent and expect to get results.

The latest in advertising technology – programmatic native advertising – promises to help you get results and increase your profits. Here’s how:

Reach the Right Customers

Native advertising programs like In-Feed from CodeFuel help you reach the right customers with a user-intent-based algorithm.

The proprietary technology learns user habits over time so that it serves up the right ads for the right users. In-Feed then places native ads based on the website, the device being used, and other factors.

To get the same kind of targeting in your other advertising, you would have to spend hours and hours doing tedious research, and then you’d still be doing a little guessing. In-Feed takes the guesswork out of it and ensures that your ads are being shown to the right people.

By reaching the right people, you get more sales and leads, which is one huge part of the equation for bigger profits.

Evade Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are wreaking havoc for advertisers.

The majority of online users now have an ad blocker installed on one or more devices. Mobile users have ad blockers installed in even greater numbers, and mobile is a primary target for advertisers as the segment continues to grow.

Ad blockers are costing businesses billions of dollars in lost sales. Native advertising helps companies reach more of their audience by avoiding detection by this growing menace.

Native advertising looks like editorial content in most cases, and it is always designed to have the look and feel of the website on which it is placed. Therefore, ad blockers are more likely to identify these ads as native to the site. Most programs will not block it, ensuring that it gets seen by the desired audience.

The combination of native ads avoiding ad blockers and ads chosen to reach a specific audience means that programmatic native advertising can maximize the return you get for your advertising budget.

Lower Research Costs

Market research can eat up a lot of your budget and man power.

You can hire a firm to do it for you, but you’ll pay a pretty penny. Or you can do it yourself, but you’ll need a dedicated team who spends hundreds of hours on the work. Either way, you’re going to pay dearly for the info.

Of course, you can’t get the sales you want without the right research, so most companies suck it up and pay the money. But there’s a better way to handle it that will cost less and still give you the information you need.

Programmatic advertising makes it so that you don’t have to do the research. The advanced algorithm does the work for you by analyzing user-intent signals and turning them into actionable insights. You’re able to show the right ads to the right people without doing anything at all.

By using these programs, you can decrease your bottom line. You don’t have to spend the money on the research firm or on the extra man hours. You can channel that money into developing other parts of your business, or you can bank it with the rest of your profits.

Increase Ad Revenue

Most brands also sell advertising on their own websites – especially if they have acquired a large following.

Selling advertising (for non-competing brands, of course) can help you to increase profits and get even more out of the traffic you have worked so hard to get.

Becoming part of a native advertising program gives you the opportunity to increase ad revenue as a publisher, as well. You display the ads on your site, and you make more money since the ads are better targeted to your visitors.

You can also rest easy knowing that the native ads will not detract from the user experience on your site. Even if certain visitors don’t like the ads they are shown, they are not as likely to be bothered by these ads or to leave your site because of them.

Programmatic native advertising offers great potential to help you increase your profits, both through increasing ad revenue and through increasing sales and leads. The technology of the future will help you reach more of the customers you want without putting in as much effort. You can get more results without having to dump a lot of resources into the process. Check out In-Feed and find out more about this superior advertising programming fueled by predictive technology.

Advanced Native Designs Get Notice

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about native advertising. If you haven’t, chances are good that you haven’t been paying attention or you aren’t very proactive about researching best marketing and advertising practices.

Native advertising is the cure for ad blockers. It is the cure for low click-through rates. It is the cure for low conversion rates.

Native advertising isn’t some magical ad that hypnotizes users into clicking and buying. It is just engaging advertising that mimics the look of editorial content and encourages users to spend some time with it.

Advanced native designs and placement programs are revolutionizing the way companies advertise, giving them better click-through rates and conversions.

Engaging Content

One reason that native advertising is more successful than traditional banner ads and other types of advertising is that it offers something besides a sales pitch.

The traditional ad includes a copy of lines of sales copy and maybe a funny photo or video. Native ads can be entire blog posts or articles, and they can offer useful information for the reader, such as a review of a product, a tutorial, or general information about a topic.

Readers have a reason to stop for native advertising besides learning about the product being promoted. They are more likely to stop for the content and to become engaged by it. Once they are engaged, they are more likely to click through on the link and be receptive to learning about the product being advertised.

Therefore, native advertising is much more successful at getting clicks and sales.

Preserves the User Experience

Consumers can see a sales pitch a mile away, and many of them actively avoid ads. They don’t like the overt promotion.

They just want to surf the web, read their article, or laugh at their video without interruption.

If you invest in banner ads, you better make sure they are the best banner ads anyone’s ever seen.

Instead of trying to reach that high bar, you can invest in native ads and get the results you want. Native ads are not just written like editorial content; they are also designed to have the same look and feel of the website on which they are published.

These ads are almost camouflaged, so users don’t immediately flag them as ads and they are more likely to look at the content. They are also less likely to leave the page because of “annoying ads.”

Targets the Right Users

Programmatic native advertising not only delivers the ads in the right format, but it also delivers them to the right users.

These ad programs have an advanced algorithm that looks at what users are really interested in when they are online. The algorithm looks at a combination of web history, device being used, and other indicators of user intent.

The goal of these programs is to match ads to the users, ensuring that they only see content that appeals to their interests or matches their needs. When the match is successful, users are more likely to click through on the ads and buy the products presented.

These programs are designed to give users information they are primed to want. Therefore, when they see the ads, they are more likely to feel that they have stumbled onto content that they have been looking for already. This is especially true when the native ads provide real solutions and truly engaging content.

Case Study: In-Feed

In-Feed is CodeFuel’s programmatic native advertising tool, and it is designed to get both advertisers and publishers results.

In-Feed is fueled by CodeFuel’s proprietary predictive technology, which relies on the power of artificial intelligence to try to understand what users are searching for or what they want when they are online. The technology turns the data it collects into actionable insights within milliseconds.

The program automatically places native ads on the appropriate sites based on the user data. It also takes into account factors like the user’s location, whether it’s a mobile device or desktop user, and what language the person uses.

In-Feed is also one of the only solutions that offers support for mobile ad placement, which puts it at the head of the competition. Mobile is becoming the most important arena for marketing and advertising since the majority of users are now on mobile when accessing the Internet. Those numbers are only going to continue to grow, so advertisers need to shift their focus if they want to capture more of their audience and remain relevant.

Native advertising is the solution of the future, and programs like In-Feed help advertisers get more out of these advanced ad designs. It is important that you start include native ads in your advertising strategy, if not focus primarily on them. You should also look into In-Feed as either an advertiser or a publisher to increase your sales and revenues and to save money on your advertising research.