Tips for a Comfortable Back-to-School Online Shopping Experience

It is back-to-school season again, and with it comes a new wave of back-to-school shopping.

Shoppers are expected to spend an incredible $74.9 billion this season, according to research by Prosper Insights & Analytics. A greater portion of that money than ever before is going toward online purchases. Research by eMarketer estimates that online purchasing for back-to-school will be up 16% from last year. While traditional brick and mortar stores remain the primary destination for back-to-school shoppers, there is still a wealth of opportunities to profit from the increase in online shopping.

To make the most of these opportunities it is important to deliver the best CX possible to your back-to-school shoppers.

Here are five tips for a comfortable back-to-school online shopping experience.

Guarantee Fast & Free Shipping

Customers need to receive their purchases before the start of the school year, so it is important to get them there fast. Faster shipping can mean the difference between choosing your business or shopping with a competitor. Free shipping is another great way to make for a more comfortable CX, offering great convenience than a brick and mortar store without any added cost to the customer. According to a study by Baynote, 84% of customers said that free shipping would encourage them to shop online.

Ensure Mobile Functionality 

More customers than ever are comparing prices and reviews in store, but they will not even be able to access your website without mobile functionality. Mobile makes for a more convenient CX and it is often the last chance to influence a customer’s purchasing decision. Your mobile site can win over undecided customers, but only if your mobile experience is top quality.

Synergize Online with Brick & Mortar

Part of delivering a great online CX is synchronizing the online and offline components of your business to create the best experience. Research by Allsion Paul of Deloitte found that 40% of back-to-school customers prefer to order online and pick up their purchases in store. This combination of online and in-store shopping offers maximum convenience and speed for the customer. Before offering this option, it is important to make sure your store inventory and website are well organized enough to facilitate it. If you promise great service, then you need to deliver.

Gartner Analysts agree: “67% of consumers say that the ability to order online and pick up in the store is very important compared to 35% of retailers that have this capability.“

Guide Customers Through the Back-to-School Process

Each customer will have a slightly different back to school list, but the fundamentals – clothes, electronics, school supplies – will remain pretty much the same. A great way to make your online CX more comfortable is to guide customers through your business’s version of a back-to-school online checklist with a variety of typical purchases. A customer guidance interface like WalkMe can help customers with that very task. Not only does this make things easier for customers, but it also gives you the opportunity to present them with a range of products that they may be interested in.

Personalize the Back-to-School Shopping Experience

One advantage online has over traditional stores is the ability to custom its selections and promotions for each individual customer. The key to delivering a comfortable online CX is to make recommendations based on customers’ past purchase and browsing history. This will make things easier for customers and also generate a higher number of purchases, as customers are more likely to purchase items they are actually interested in.

Nike top management board announced a strong shift of its strategy from being a sportswear brand to becoming the enabler of customized, personal experiences. CEO Mark Parker says “The Consumer Decides is one of Nike’s 11 maxims that really define who we are and how we compete as a company. Today, consumers have never held as much power as they do today. They have more choices and more access to those choices. They connect and collaborate with each other over the world.”

Traditional retail remains a dominant force in the back-to-school market, but online shopping is quickly growing in popularity. To win out over brick and mortar stores, online businesses need to find a way to deliver a better CX than traditional retail. This means offering greater convenience and personalization that traditional retail for a better back-to-school shopping experience.


Matthew is the Lead Author & Editor of CXperience Blog. Matthew established the CXperience blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Customer Experience.