Targeting the Back-to-College Shopper

Targeting the Back-to-College Shopper

December 6, 2017
Annette Maggi
Retail Industry Insights

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

While the August/September back-to-school timing is a targeted promotion at most retailers, there’s a second BTS season just around the corner.  As discussed in RDBA’s Samplefest® insights document, parents often reload their college students before heading back to campus in early January, creating a promotional opportunity for retail dietitians.

To capitalize on this back-to-college season, consider the following ideas:

  • Healthy U Box.  Bundle a variety of OTC pharmacy products targeted at cold and flu season with comfort foods that help students prevent or manage the typical seasonal ailments as an endcap display or “variety pack” that a shopper can pick up and purchase.  
  • College Night.  If you have a local college in your area, offer a class targeted at healthy snacking, preventing the “Freshmen Fifteen,” or simple yet healthy meals that can be made in a dorm room.  Partner with the health or fitness centers on campus to promote the class.  Plan now for when students are back on campus in early to mid-January.
  • Digital Shopping Lists.  On your website and in social media, post a list of your top ten RD picks for late night healthy snacking, dorm room breakfast choices, and low-calorie study buddies.  Link the list to product choices in your online grocery ordering system.  
  • Join their Communities.  Many colleges have Facebook pages for parents of each class attending the school.  Join these communities and offer parents advice on foods, supplements, and general merchandise from your store to send with their student back to campus.
  • Facebook Live.  Run a segment on best choices to restock college dorm rooms from your retailers site, or from a local college’s site.  Tag colleges and universities in your retailers’ market areas on the recorded version of the post.

Along with the university crowd, don’t forget to suggest parents of grade schoolers and teenagers restock their own pantries with after school snacks, healthy breakfast and bag lunch options after the new year.