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4 Ways Businesses Can Use Gift Cards to Enhance Back to School Sales

According to Deloitte Insights, the back to school season is estimated to be around $34.4 billion. Students, parents, and teachers are gearing up for the new academic year, and that’s a great opportunity for businesses to boost their sales and expand their customer base. In this article, we'll dive into the top ways businesses can maximize their sales during the back to school season.

Industries Primed for Back to School Success

As the back-to-school season approaches, businesses across various sectors are gearing up to seize the opportunity to connect with eager shoppers. Let's dive in and discover the industries ready to unlock their sales potential.

Retail Stores: Clothing stores, shoe stores, bookstores, office supply stores, electronics stores, and other retailers that offer products commonly needed for back to school shopping.

Online Retailers: E-commerce businesses selling a wide range of products, including school supplies, backpacks, stationery, technology, and clothing.

Educational Services: Tutoring centers, online learning platforms, educational apps, and other businesses offering educational services.

Technology Companies: Businesses specializing in laptops, tablets, software, and other educational technology.

Stationery and Craft Stores: Stores that offer a variety of stationery items, arts and crafts supplies, and organizational products for classrooms and projects.

Clothing and Uniform Suppliers: Businesses that supply school uniforms, dress code-compliant clothing, or trendy apparel.

Office Supply Providers: Companies that specialize in office supplies, such as pens, notebooks, folders, and desk accessories.

These are just a few examples, but the following information can be valuable for any business looking to capitalize on the back to school season and increase their sales among students, parents, and teachers. Let's explore how you can make the back to school season your most profitable yet.

1. Embracing Back to School Marketing Strategies with Gift Cards

As we approach the back to school season, businesses have a fantastic opportunity to boost sales. The buying frenzy typically associated with this time of the year is characterized by students, parents, and teachers gearing up for the academic year ahead. By incorporating back to school marketing strategies and leveraging gift cards into your marketing plan, you can tap into this potent buying period to enhance your sales figures.

  • Understanding Your Target Audience: The first step in any successful marketing strategy is to know your audience. Are your customers' parents shopping for their children's school supplies, or are they students buying for themselves? What are their unique needs for the upcoming school year? By crafting your promotions around these factors  and offering gift cards as incentives, you can generate interest in your products or services and drive sales.
  • Creating Effective Advertising: In the realm of advertising, being able to stand out from the crowd is essential. To truly make an impact, consider thinking outside the box and create compelling, memorable advertising campaigns. An effective back to school advertising idea could be a series of social media posts that spotlight your best products for the academic year, along with enticing gift card offers.
  • Capitalizing on Nostalgia: A sense of nostalgia is a powerful emotion. Everyone remembers the excitement associated with preparing for a new school year. By tapping into these feelings, businesses can appeal to their customers' emotions, leading to increased engagement and sales. Offering nostalgic-themed gift cards like Nintendo and Disney can further enhance the appeal of your promotions.

These are just a few things to consider when planning a back to school promotion. By considering these factors, you can find creative ways to boost your back to school sales.

2. Boosting Sales During the Back to School Season

The back to school season provides a unique opportunity to significantly increase your sales. This is the time when parents and students are actively looking for the best deals and promotions for their back to school shopping. Here's how you can maximize this opportunity:

  • Exclusive Deals: Offering exclusive deals not only attracts customers but also creates a sense of urgency. By providing time-limited or quantity-limited promotions for back to school shopping, you can drive immediate sales.
  • Leveraging Gift Cards: Using gift cards to drive back to school sales can be highly effective. Consider offering Gap gift cards or the Engage2Reward™ Choice Card for back to school campaigns. These gift cards provide customers with flexibility and choice, increasing the likelihood of them making a purchase from your business.

These are some of the low hanging fruit opportunities to boost your sales during back to school season, and you can find unique ways to deliver them to your specific customers.

3. Maximizing Revenue with Gift Card Promotions

Gift cards hold a tremendous capacity to maximize revenue. By offering attractive gift card promotions, businesses can incentivize more purchases. Here's how gift cards can maximize your sales:

  • Incentivizing Larger Purchases: Consider offering a free gift card with a certain amount of purchase. This strategy encourages customers to spend more to use up the benefit of the gift card, leading to increased sales.
  • Providing Flexible Options: Offering flexible options such as the Engage2Reward™ Choice Card for back to school campaigns can make your business more appealing to customers. This card allows customers to choose from a wide range of brands, adding value to their purchase.
  • Gap Options Gift Card: Consider incorporating popular branded gift cards into your back-to-school marketing. For example, Gap Options gift cards are popular among parents and students for their flexibility in being redeemable at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta, both in-store and online. By offering such branded gift cards, you can attract a larger customer base.

Using gift cards is a timeless way to increase spending during the back to school season, so be sure to look into some gift card options to optimize your promotions.

4. Attracting Students and Parents with Gift Card Incentives

Attracting students and parents with gift card incentives is a proven method to boost sales during the back to school season. Here are some tips to attract these two important groups:

  • Student-Only Discounts: Offer special gift card promotions exclusively for students. This will appeal to students who are shopping for themselves, drawing their attention to your store or brand.
  • Engaging Parent-Teacher Associations: Collaborate with local schools' parent-teacher associations to offer special gift cards for their members. This not only increases your brand visibility among parents, but also increases your sales as you're reaching directly into your target market.

It’s useful to consider the individual identities of your potential back to school customers so you can tailor your promotions to engage them. Creating strategies that target the most common customers, parents and students, is a great place to start.  


By understanding your target audience and their unique needs during this season, you can design and deliver promotions that truly resonate with them. Whether it's tapping into the power of nostalgia, offering student-only discounts, or engaging with parent-teacher associations, the right strategy can be the difference between merely staying afloat and smoothly sailing towards your sales goals. By deploying innovative marketing strategies, leveraging the power of gift cards such as the Engage2Reward™ Choice Card and Gap Options, and tailoring promotions to engage parents and students, businesses can ride the wave of the back to school season and make it a very profitable one.

Topics: Bulk Gift Cards, Schools & Education

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