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Prepare your online store for back to school shopping trends

As the summer months draw to a close, a significant retail event comes into focus for students and parents alike: Back to School.

Is your online store ready to supply all the school essentials to school kids and young adults in college?

Thanks to this article, you will be able to understand the dynamics and trends of this seasonal ecommerce opportunity to make the most of it. Keep reading for proven data and insights into how the back-to-school time influences sales in different product categories on marketplaces.

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Offline school, online shopping

After many challenging months of remote schooling enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, students worldwide could finally return to school buildings. It might be one of the reasons behind the unparalleled back-to-school spending that we are expecting in 2023.

Back-to-school shopping is the customary practice of buying school essentials in late summer in preparation for the new academic year.

It is done both by parents and students – younger and older, those going to college too.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF):

  • Back-to-school spending in 2023 is expected to reach $41.5 billion,
  • Back-to-college spending in 2023 is expected to reach $94 billion.

Both quotes are unparalleled, breaking the previous year’s records.

The average spending in 2023 is also expected to increase:

  • up to $890.07 per child in elementary through high school,
  • and up to $1,366.95 per college student.

While remote schooling days might be over, online shopping is here to stay for good. Even though students will return to schools and colleges in real life, many related purchases will be made via the Internet. Why?

Because the pandemic has permanently affected consumer habits. Once shoppers experienced the luxury of buying anything from the comfort of their own couches 24/7, it forever changed their shopping routine.

According to Deloitte’s Global Consumer Pulse Survey, at least 30 to 40% of consumers who used online channels more during the pandemic declared they would continue to do so after lockdowns end.  And they are.

The role of technology in education and back-to-school shopping

Technology has played an increasingly significant role in the back-to-school shopping season in recent years.

As educational institutions integrated digital tools and remote learning options, the demand for laptops, tablets, and other tech gadgets has skyrocketed. Students, teachers, and parents sought reliable devices to support learning, collaboration, and productivity in and out of the classroom.

But the modern online marketplace has also transformed the back-to-school shopping experience, offering convenience, variety, and competitive pricing.

Online retailers can reach a broad audience beyond local markets, enabling them to connect with students and parents from different geographical regions.

With the rise of mobile shopping and easy access to digital platforms, consumers can shop for their school essentials on their smartphones and tablets, making the process more seamless and accessible.

What are the back-to-school top selling items?

Ecommerce seasonality affects product demand in certain marketplace categories at specific times of the year.

We may intuitively guess what sells best in a given season, but research helps to answer this question more accurately. Data provides insights into how seasonal sales might shape this year.

Back-to-school shopping is expected to surge in the following categories:

back to school popular productsSchool essentials

As students and parents gear up to return to classrooms, they actively seek everything from school uniforms, backpacks, and stationery to laptops, tablets, and dorm room decorations. Ecommerce businesses can capitalize on this surge in demand.

What particular products can we expect to be purchased from the abovementioned categories?

To understand better what sells best among children and young adults investing in their education, Webinterpret prepared a list of school-related products that online sellers should consider stocking for the season:


  • Laptops, tablets
  • Ebook readers
  • Smartphones
  • Headphones, noise-cancelling headphones
  • Wireless computer accessories
  • Home printers
  • Calculators

Clothing, accessories, shoes

  • Regular clothing: autumn jackets, hats, scarves, gloves
  • School uniforms
  • Regular shoes, sports shoes
  • Backpacks, book bags
  • Bento boxes, lunch bags, containers, water bottles, and other items for packing school lunches

Make sure to carry appropriate sizes of clothing and shoe items that are meant for children. Provide parents who shop for their kids with proper sizing and measurements if needed.

School Supplies

  • Pens, pencils, erasers, pencil cases, highlighters, markers
  • Paper, notebooks, binders, folders, scissors, rulers
  • Journals, bullet journals, planners, calendars, study aids
  • Textbooks, study guides, reference books, educational books, novels
  • Art supplies, craft kits, paint, brushes, sketchbooks, modeling clay

These products cater to the diverse needs of students and parents during the back-to-school season and present lucrative opportunities for marketplace sellers that want to capitalize on the September shopping rush.

Explore how you can increase turnover by adjusting your product portfolio and enabling cross-selling opportunities with such items.

Make sure to stock up, as some popular items will see increased demand during this time.

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Ace your product listings

Building even the most enticing back-to-school product portfolio isn’t everything. You need potential customers to find your listings when looking for what they need.

Check whether you’re not omitting any crucial steps when preparing your marketplace listings.

Keyword research

Conduct basic keyword research on your selling platform. Explore competitor pages, similar products, and popular Google searches. Identify crucial keywords.

Include relevant search terms

Incorporate relevant search terms across applicable listings.

The choice and order of keywords in titles and descriptions can significantly impact product sales and ranking.

Write compelling product descriptions

Craft product descriptions that persuade buyers to make a purchase. Highlight how your products can enhance students’ preparations and help them in school.

For instance, if you carry stationery and school supplies, emphasize how they will support the student through a successful school term. Whether it’s organizing notes, acing exams, or staying on top of assignments, infuse your descriptions with creativity to resonate with your target audience.

Boost listings

Sponsored ads can push listings to the top of search pages, increase store traffic, and recapture the interest of potential customers who left the marketplace. It is the faster method to boost your product listings!


Back-to-school in ecommerce represents a vital opportunity for businesses to engage with quite a diverse and eager-to-shop customer base.

The critical thing to remember is that it is a relatively short shopping period compared to other major retail events. Timing is equally important as the right product portfolio to build the right momentum for the academic season.

By understanding the unique dynamics of this season and exploring its best-selling categories and products, online businesses can make the most of the back-to-school rush.

About Webinterpret

Webinterpret supports merchants selling on big, international ecommerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon as well as local marketplaces. Our AI-based solution enables selling more effectively with automated listing localization, marketing, and logistics (shipping and returns).

By giving your international customers a full end-to-end local shopping experience, Webinterpret improves your conversion and helps establish your business on a global scale.

Our marketplace offer is constantly expanding – if you want to grow your online sales, feel free to contact our sales experts. They will help you analyze your international sales potential and choose markets that will offer you the best possible return on investment.

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