Get smart: Tips for school and office supply brands to connect with back-to-school shoppers

September 29, 2022 | By John Moloney, Industry Marketer, Consumer Electronics

Customer experience

Parents and kids alike are quickly gearing up for back-to-school season. Many are already thinking about which backpacks pencil cases, folders, and other items they’ll purchase for the new school year. Shoppers are expected to spend ample time researching, comparing, and purchasing products online. In fact, a recent survey1 showed that nearly half of US back-to-school shoppers conducted their purchases through online retailers. Amazon Ads can help brands connect with these school and office supply customers through ads, wherever they spend time.

To help school and office supply brands prepare, Amazon Ads worked with Kantar to survey 1,000 consumers who had recently purchased an item from this category Below, we’ll break down some of the findings, such as how Amazon fits into customers’ purchase journeys, and why Millennial (25-34, as defined by Kantar) shoppers are a particularly relevant audience when introducing new brands and products.2 These insights can help brands focus their advertising campaigns and efficiently connect with in-market and prospective customers throughout their shopping journey.

Millennial parents frequently visit the Amazon store and engage with Amazon products and services

School supply requirements are commonplace for many students returning from summer break. Results from the Amazon Ads and Kantar study affirmed a majority of school supply purchases were motivated by “routine” needs: 56% of school and office supply customers noted they bought because it was “part of my usual shopping list” or “I routinely purchase items like this.” These Millennial parents’ product needs are the least cemented when compared to other age ranges. Sponsored ads can help customers discover new and relevant products by appearing in related shopping results and product pages.

Over half of Millennial school and office supply shoppers indicated they visited the Amazon store at least one time while shopping for back-to-school items and office supplies. In addition, only 35% of Millennials indicated they knew which brand they would buy at the start of their purchase journey. Parents in the Millennial age demographic come to the Amazon store but are open to trying new brands. Advertisers have a unique opportunity to introduce their brand and products to shoppers of all ages, but particularly to Millennials who are less committed to any one brand. Through brand awareness solutions, such as Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands video, school and office supply advertisers can help increase product visibility to in-market shoppers who are in the early stages of shopping.

Millennials also place more importance on brand names when compared to other age demographics: 42% of those surveyed said it was one of the top ways they make their category purchase decisions.3 These parents were 6% more likely than Gen X parents (35­-44, as defined by Kantar) to note brand as an important factor for the category. Streaming TV ads provide full-screen, nonskippable video ads that can help school and office supply advertisers build brand affinity and trust alongside premium content.

How often do school and office supply customers interact with Amazon products and services, outside of the Amazon store? The answer is quite a bit, particularly for Millennials. In fact, 1 in every 3 people in this age group indicated they regularly listen to Amazon Music. This presents an opportunity for school and office supply brands to meet Millennial parents where they naturally come to enjoy to their favorite music artists.

Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers are undecided on brand or product at the start of their customer journey

School supply shoppers are interested in learning about brands and discovering new products, and are prone to changing their minds through the course of their purchase journey. Nearly 7 out of every 10 surveyed shoppers indicated that they were open-minded when they began researching their recently bought item.4 Qualifications for “openness” were:

  • “Knew brand I wanted, but switched”
  • “Had multiple brands in mind, made up my mind while shopping”
  • “Had no particular brand in mind, made up my mind while shopping”

Of the bunch, “Had no particular brand in mind, made up my mind while shopping” had the highest number of responses, with 36% of those surveyed checking that box. School and office supply advertisers have an opportunity to make an early connection with category shoppers who have not made up their minds on brand or a particular product.

Nearly 7 out of 10 category buyers had not decided on a brand or product at the start of their purchase journey, per survey results

31% of buyers are decided on a brand or product

31% in blue circular graph

Knew what brand I would buy before shopping

69% of buyers are open

10% in orange circular graph

Knew brand I wanted, but switched

36% in orange circular graph

No particular brand in mind, made up my mind while shopping

23% in orange circular graph

Had multiple brands in mind, made up my mind while shopping

There is rich opportunity to connect with repeat and new back-to-school shoppers early and throughout their purchase journey. Amazon Ads offers solutions to help advertisers drive brand awareness and increase appeal with highly engaged shoppers.

To learn more about how Amazon Ads can help your brand expand your reach, get in touch today.

1 Statista, Most popular shopping destinations for back-to-school consumers in the United States in 2021
2-4 Amazon Ads and Kantar, US Office & School Supplies Path to Purchase Study, April 2022