we saw that back-to-school spending in the U.S. is projected to decrease slightly from 2010. In an effort to boost sales and distinguish themselves from their competitors, a number of brands are using creative and innovative ways to engage with their customers. This is a smart move considering that the meteoric rise in the use of social media, smartphones, and tablets continues to drastically change the shopping process.
In a recent survey by Deloitte
, 64% of smartphone users planned to use them as part of the shopping process, primarily to get price information (61%) and to download coupons or sale information (43%). Thirty-five percent intended to use social media, up from 29% last year. Learning about promotions (69%) and browsing products (44%) were the top two uses.
Best Buy: Back to School Contest
Best Buy is giving shoppers a chance to win a grand prize of $15,000 in-store credit, as well as a number of weekly prizes, in their Top of the Class Back-to-School Contest
. Students are encouraged to successfully complete brainteasers, quizzes and puzzles found on the contest calendar in order to earn an entry in the grand prize draw. Contestants can also earn additional entries by completing extra credit questions which include signing up for the Best Buy e-newsletter or completing an online scavenger hunt.
Best Buy is also encouraging students to visit their Facebook page where they can earn additional entries by completing an instant win game and possibly win one of eight $500 gift cards. An additional 50 entries can be earned by submitting a funny or helpful video about how to survive back to school.
Macy’s: Fund Raising
Earlier this month, Macy's
launched a back-to-school cause marketing campaign leveraging QR codes and Facebook “likes” to solicit $1 donations for the youth volunteer organization DoSomething.org
For every designated QR code that consumers scan from within Macy's mstylelab
(or juniors and young men's department), Macy’s will donate $1 to DoSomething.org. Each scan will provide consumers with volunteer opportunity information, as well as videos that focus on current fashion trends. Musician Kelly Osbourne will be featured in a QR code video inviting young people to become active volunteers.
Macy's will also donate $1 for every "like" on the mstylelab Facebook page.
Target: Mobile Coupons
Target is combining social and mobile this back-to-school season in a campaign designed to increase the fan base on their Facebook page
. Their "1,000 Likes" promotion is running throughout August, Monday through Friday. Each day the first 1,000 users to click the “like” button are sent a mobile coupon offering up to 50% off a rotating selection of school supplies.
jcpenney: Haul Nation
jcpenny once again hosted an online contest in partnership with Seventeen.com that encouraged stylish teens to share their passion for fashion via video blogging. Teens were encouraged to share a 3 to 5 minute video of their shopping haul. jcpTeen Facebook fans then had the opportunity to vote on their favorite videos, and the hauler with the most votes won the grand prize of a trip to New York City.
"Haul Nation allows us to use social media and in-mall events to connect with tech-savvy teens and remind them to dream big by leveraging a platform where anything is possible, which is the theme for our Back-to-School advertising," said Bill Gentner, interim chief marketing officer, jcpenney.
Apple & Microsoft: Free Gift
In previous back-to-school promotions, Apple has offered students a free iPod touch after mail-in-rebate, with the purchase of a new Mac. This year, they’re offering students a $100 gift card for the Mac App Store
when they purchase a new Mac.
In a similar move, Microsoft is offering a free Xbox 360 4 GB console, valued at $199, to high school and college students who buy a Windows PC priced at $699 or more.