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Back to School and Beyond: Nurturing Long Term Loyalty

What’s in this article:

  • Back-to-school time is the perfect time to reach out to teachers and students, let them know about special discounts, and strengthen their connection to your brand

Even though Labor Day is a month-and-a-half away, it’s already back-to-school season. In many regions of the United States, school resumes in August, and in some even as early as the third week of July, according to Pew Research.

Why school season starts in mid-summer

The earlier start could account for some of the 9% of back-to-school consumers who, reported by Statista, start their shopping in July. Likely, some just like to get an early start to get the best prices available, while others need to plan ahead to get everything needed, not just for classes but for the college dorm.

Target already started rolling out its back-to-school campaign in June, as we saw in It’s Back-to-School Time at Target. In addition to filling the aisles devoted to seasonal items with school supplies, Target is offering students and their parents the extra service of convenience: getting schools to upload their requirements to the store’s site to allow customers to easily get all the notebooks, pens, highlighters, glue sticks, and other assorted items in one place.

Also aiming for the earlier shopper, Bed Bath & Beyond began sending out its catalogs and emails that target customers who need to stock up on essentials for dorm life. The retailer reminds shoppers that all their dorm needs, from blankets to towels to toothpaste, can be ordered from home and picked up at a store located near their campus.

The student discount incentive

In addition to trying to win over student business by making it as convenient as possible to pull together everything needed for the dorm, Bed Bath & Beyond offers an incentive for that demographic: the College Pass.

Essentially, the pass lets students enjoy some of  the perks of the retailer’s membership program, Beyond+, without the $29 annual charge if they provide proof of their enrolment. However, it is only valid from July through the end of September, which is why it likely did not make the list of retailers that offer student discounts compiled by DealHack.

The student discount list includes 17 categories of stores and membership options. For retailers and transportation systems, the discount typically ranges from 5-30% off regular prices. Some offer an even more generous discount.

For example, Amazon Prime offers students six months of membership free deals, followed by half-price memberships.

Amazon also offers “student exclusive offers.” Student discounts give those enrolled in college a reason to choose one brand over another and builds up the habit of turning to that store even after earning a diploma. Therefore, it’s a great way to retain customers and grow through existing ones.

Targeting teachers

Students are not the only ones who appreciate being given a discount on their school and general shopping. Teachers do, too. Target has a special offer just for them.

Since the back-to-school season of 2018, Target has been offering the Target Teacher Discount: a special Target Circle discount of 15% available only to teachers for one-time use. In the first year, it ran for just three days. It then expanded to a week and then to six weeks. This year’s offer is set to be active from July 19 to August 29.

While Target’s discount incentive is a limited-time deal specifically aimed at back-to-school season, several retailers extend teacher (and sometimes also student) discounts to teachers all year long.

DealHack offers an extensive list of teacher discounts, most of which are 10% off for supplies. But the incentive is not limited to purchases made only for things used in the classroom.

Some of the most generous ones also include discounts for students.

Major brands that participate include the following:

  • Adidas: 30% off the teacher shoe collection.
  • Ann Taylor LOFT: 15% off in-store purchases.
  • Banana Republic: 15% off in stores only for teachers and students.
  • E.l.f.: 25% discount for teachers.
  • J.Crew: 15% discount for both teachers and students online only.
  • Under Armour: 20% off for teachers and college students online.

Fostering long term loyalty

Teacher discounts are very effective at getting the attention of that segment of the population. According to a survey from Agile Marketing, 95% of teachers indicate they would be more inclined to buy from a store that offers a teacher discount.

The special offer for teachers makes them feel valued, according to 64%. Given the reciprocity of relationships, people who feel valued will be more loyal to a brand. The benefit for brands there is not just in retaining the one customer but also in getting word-of-mouth promotion. Therefore, contributing to the brand’s growth through existing customers.

Teachers pass on their discovery of discounts with colleagues, as 71% report doing. Even more (78%) report that they learned about a teacher discount from another teacher. Clearly, getting a toehold in this market contributes to the lifetime value of multiple customers who connect at work and in professional conferences.

No doubt that students also share brands that offer discounts with their peers, expanding the reach of each marketing campaign. Back-to-school time is the perfect time to reach out to teachers and students, let them know about special discounts for them, and start strengthening their connection to your brand that will foster loyalty for years to come.

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