For many, school is back in session. And, that means checklists and credit cards are out. From school uniforms to school lunches, from classroom supplies to teacher gifts, this is a wildly busy—and expensive—time for parents.

If you are a merchant, here are a few 101s to be sure you maximize Back-to-School revenues this year and beyond.

Target Key Demographics through Affiliate Partners

Your affiliates are powerful brand advocates and sales team members. Have you thought about these key affiliate types as extraordinarily important this time of year?

Mommy Bloggers

Your sweet spot. This segment is part of and speaks to (as influencers) your target buying persona this time of year: the Mother.

Coupon and Deal Sites

Many Back-to-School buyers are passionate about saving money. They are actively seeking discounts or the very best deal before purchasing. This affiliate segment is critical for Back-to-School buyers. Tip: 34% of shoppers prefer a percent-off total purchase deal, according to RetailMeNot.

Focus on Seasonal Niches Aligning with Your Business

Back-to-School covers an array of ages and stages, needs and budgets. It affects nearly all of us at some point in our lives. Think strategically about which verticals your online business touches, or fully caters to, that attract Back-to-School shoppers. Focus your strategy this time of year on verticals such as:

Apparel, Accessories and Clothing | Artwork | Books | College Discount Furniture and Home Décor | Electronics | Food and Grocery | Gift Cards and Gifts (e.g., for teachers) | School Supplies | Shoes | Specialty Items | Teacher Provisions and Learning Tools

Know Your Consumer

The Deloitte 2015 Back-to-School Survey drills down on the last five years of Back-to-School buying data and highlights many opportunities for marketers.

For example, smart phone and tablet ownership has skyrocketed in the last five years. In 2015, 88% of consumers own a smart phone and 73% own a tablet. With exponential growth in technology, we see an always-connected consumer. Takeaways:

  • Is your Affiliate Program tracking across all devices? If not, you are missing out.
  • Is your website mobile-ready and responsive? Take Google’s quick Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.
  • Are you active across Social Media? Your hyper-connected consumers are. You should have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, particularly around this time of year.

Create a Back-to-School Resource Portal for Consumers

Give parents a reason to return to your site as an A+ resource. Here are two fun resources that may resonate with your audience now and into Q4.

Back-to-School Savings – Beyond August presents seven great ideas to stretch the life of favorite clothing pieces and easily plan ahead for next year, this year, with no extra hassle.

Add Personality to Your Standard School Look

Variety is the spice of life. Whether you have a budding fashionista or a child simply over the standard look they must wear e v e r y d a y, has crafted an excellent slideshow featuring 12 different ways your child can personalize their look. From statement belts to funky socks, you’ll come away with fresh ideas that won’t step on the toes of your school’s uniform policy.

Back-to-School is one of the largest retail seasons of the year, second only to Q4. According to the Back-to-School Survey, for the first time in history, online shopping takes sole possession of second place as the Back-to-School shopping destination. With online shopping growing year over year, why not engage with Back-to-School savvy affiliate partners, keep content rich in the ABC department, and be prepared—across all devices—to engage with and track your consumers?

Your Q3 bottom line will thank you.

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