Back-to-School: Merchandising Strategies for Seasonal and Campaign-Specific Landing Pages

Posted by Julia Cardis, Senior Manager, Landing Page Optimization

For many retailers, the back-to-school (BTS) bus has already left the playground. When thinking about optimizing paid search performance during this critical season, Performics offers some landing page strategies to make the most out of your BTS paid search budget.


The focus of this blog posting is on apparel retailers, but the strategies and merchandising concepts also apply to computers and electronics, books and music, school supplies retailers as well as other advertisers who market to the back-to-school consumer.


Who Are You Targeting, and What Are They Shopping for Online?


The first step in developing a landing page strategy is to identify and prioritize your target segments. For example: Parent or student? College freshman or high school freshman? Teen girls or teen boys, or both?


Are there certain goods or products that consumers are willing to buy online, or only in-store? Are there products in the long-tail (shirts without logos, gold and blue polos) that might yield lower volume, but higher conversion and average order value (AOV)?


To prioritize your target audience and understand what is most likely to convert online:


    • Examine the competitive environment (online and offline)
    • Understand the latest market (and fashion) trends
    • Develop your unique value proposition—convey why visitors should buy from you, rather than somewhere else.


How to Win the Click


Next, you should decide what incentive or promotion will be the most effective in winning the click. This could be several things, so plan to test variations on ad copy and offers. You can even experiment with different tones or copy styles to determine which garners more clicks from different segments, such as students vs. parents. Ideas for copy/offer testing include free shipping, dollars or percent-off, buy one get one free (BOGO), free returns, free gift with purchase, easy in-store exchange policies or other incentives. Do you offer exclusive products, brands, styles or colors? If yes, mention these offers in your ad copy, and pay it off on the landing page.


Merchandise Products to Help Shoppers Narrow Choices


Next, think of landing pages as a merchandising tool. Rather than sending clicks to existing home or category pages, develop custom pages (and paths) specifically for Back-to-School season. Then, extend this approach to product categories featured in the BTS product mix. Finally, you are on your way to sending users down the most relevant shopping path, and also understanding what is most important to visitors (given a fixed number of options).


Ideas for merchandising include: Most Popular, Must-Haves, Exclusive Brands, Exclusive Styles, Wardrobe Basics for High School Students, 10 Pieces Make 21 Outfits. You might even want to experiment with style categories, such as Looks for Rock n Rollers, The Athlete, The Bookworm, etc.—give shoppers options to self-identify to find the look that is right for them.


If you are interested in finding out more about Peformics’ Landing Page Optimization offering, or discussing our approach to post-click test planning and strategy email us at

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