19 Ways for Canadian Retailers to Grab Online Back-to-School Sales

The low loonie should make this a very lucrative back-to-school “season” for Canadian retailers offline and online. In fact, it’s possible you could bring in some American shoppers and turn them into loyal customers. ecommerce brings the World to our doorstep and the low Canadian dollar invites them in.

19 Ways for Canadian Retailers to Grab Back-to-School Sales

Canadian online merchants and other sellers of school supplies, clothing and related technology can use many strategies to offer convenience, add value and reduce price. If you haven’t started selling online, NOW is a great time to start.

  1. Optimize your website to ensure Canadians will find you when they’re searching. Remember that Google is now favouring mobile-friendly websites for mobile searches, and more Canadians are searching on their smartphone than ever before. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and employ omni-channel strategies for the most success.
  2. We all know why toys are advertised during children’s shows. Promote your best deals and “gotta have it” items on social media because that’s where the kids are.
  3. Engage those Mommy/Family Bloggers! We have a list of Google PR3+ Canadian bloggers to get you started.Winning Canadian Back-to-School Sales Online
  4. Offer free or low flat-rate shipping.
  5. Bonus items are always popular, such as including a hot back-to-school item free with purchase, or a freebie with purchases over a certain dollar amount, BOGO (buy one, get one free), and so on.
  6. Contests can bring back-to-school shoppers to your site and social media pages. Designer backpacks, tablets, and “win your purchase” are just a few possible prizes.
  7. Online discounts and coupons (or printable coupons if you have an offline store).
  8. Promote or start a loyalty or reward program. “Retailers that offer loyalty or reward programs offer an added bonus to students and parents who are looking to get the most of their money,” suggests Mike Bonner, Vice President, Commercial Banking, GTA Division, Bank of Montreal.
  9. Feature price-matching policies prominently.
  10. Make it clear that you are located in Canada and clearly label products made in Canada. Encourage shoppers to shop Canadian and buy local. Reach out to American shoppers looking to get a deal on Canadian dollar purchases. Make the low loonie work for you in 2015.
  11. Stock unique or novelty items that Canadian kids “just gotta have” and promote them like crazy so searching parents will find you.
  12. Bundle back-to-school products for convenient shopping and offer a great deal on these packages. That could be anything from one-click basics purchases, to bundling school supplies in trending themes like “Frozen” or “Minions”.
  13. Offer assurance to online Canadian shoppers by offering a guarantee. If possible, allow returns to an offline store.
  14. Offer gift cards or certificates for parents to give to older children and university students. Make it easy via email.
  15. A very effective and efficient way to get in front of thousands of back-to-school shoppers is to start an affiliate program through a network (Share-A-Sale is a popular affiliate network among Canadian businesses). You’ll quickly build an online sales force and you’ll only pay when they send you a sale.
  16. Conversely, affiliate marketers and bloggers can feature back-to-school sales and coupons from their favourite merchants through networks like Share-A-Sale.
  17. It’s a fantastic time of year to get into drop shipping, which requires no inventory and allows you to ship all over the World if you want to. You can be up & running in time to cash in on back-to-school shopping and you’ll be ready for holiday shoppers.
  18. Consider selling products to bargain-hunting Canadians via online auctions like eBay, or merchant marketplaces like Amazon, or specialized marketplaces.
  19. Donate a portion of profits during August/September to a Canadian-run education or other child-related charity.

Are you going after online back-to-school sales in Canada this year? Please share your ideas or questions in the comments below.

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
10 Hot Product Niches to Sell or Drop Ship Online in Canada
Checklist: Choosing a Website Host for your Canadian Business

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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Russ Mccadden

Yes” to the dress, along with the shoes and the jacket. It’s the latest move by the Seattle-based retailer to grab a bigger share of the Canadian consumer dollar as it bulks up offerings that already include a wide array of non-perishable grocery items, electronics and housewares.


Thanks for the great tips! I bet Christmas will be the best in awhile for all Canadian businesses even with the recession that Harper threw us into.


Well done and useful! back2school kicks off the most profitable part of the year for us but it can always be more profitable.


Seems the low dollar is turning the tide in our favour. I wonder if less people will cross the border for back to school clothes this year?


Great article! Timely, as I am preparing to welcome Back-to-School customers to my online second-hand store, Changeroo.ca.