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Evaluating Best Buy’s Back to School Checklist

31 Aug 2022

By Katie Conzemius, The Mars Agency

In the highly competitive consumer electronics marketplace, Best Buy hangs its hat on being America’s back to school “techfitter.”

With the product category saturated with numerous price-focused retailers, Best Buy positions itself as the knowledgeable experts that can help shoppers at all price levels find the products that will solve their unique tech needs.

This strategy is especially critical during back to school season, one of Best Buy’s biggest drive times, when parents and students at all income levels are looking for products that will become an essential part of the education experience.

And it may have been more important than usual this year when, despite a great deal of economic uncertainty, 37% of parents told Deloitte that they would spend more on BTS products than they did in 2021. Overall, Deloitte expects spending to increase 5.8% to $34.4 billion among K-12 shoppers and 6.0% to $28.3 billion among college shoppers. The forecast for technology products is mixed, however, with K-12 spending predicted to drop 8% among K-12 shoppers (after rising a very healthy 37% in 2021) but rise 22% (16% in 2021) among the college-bound.

Borrowing one of the retailer’s own common themes for shopper engagement, here’s a “checklist” of the key tactics Best Buy is using to win this back to school season:

1. Deals, Deals, Deals

Best Buy has long won with aggressive, disruptive pricing and promotional plans that drive trips and grow market share, a strategy that was vital this year as more than one-third of consumers told the National Retail Federation that they planned to comparison-shop more often.

Messages like “Start the new school year by saving” led shoppers to the first layer of offers; Best Buy then enticed them to “Level up your savings” with a Totaltech service membership ($199.99 annually) that would unlock additional, exclusive offers.


2. Parent Hub

Best Buy made sure that parents of K-12 children would find all the tech products they needed with a “Back to School Checklist” and a drill-down guide for key items like computers that had them answering questions such as:

  • What best describes your computer needs?
  • What operating system do you prefer?
  • What does your budget look like?


3. Student Hub

Similarly, Best Buy promises to hook up college students with the tech they need “for life, learning and everything else” by providing a checklist of items covering dorm comfort, optimal study conditions, organization and campus safety (among others) — all on a student’s budget, of course. Knowing that Gen Z is concerned about the environment, the retailer also connects students to its sustainability initiatives.


4. Tech for Any Occasion

From familiar tech with mass appeal to innovative tools for techies, Best Buy curates products into occasion solutions for studying, gaming, self-care and simply fun, leveraging checklists that can drive storewide sales.


5. Tips from a Tech Celeb

To add some outside perspective to its in-house expertise, Best Buy partnered with popular technology reviewer MKBHD (Marques Brownlee), who has more than 16 million YouTube subscribers and 3 billion+ total video views.

The influencer (below) shared his own top seasonal picks for content creation, gaming, computers and other needs on and through social media.


What Can Brands Do?

The back to school season is coming to a close, but Best Buy’s two-pronged focus on price and expertise will continue during the holiday season — and the post-holiday “Back to Class” window is just around the corner, too! Here are some thought starters for brands looking to partner with the retailer:

  • Develop relevant, compelling deals and promotions that will help Best Buy position itself as the category “techfitter.”
  • Provide helpful, relevant lifestyle content that will make shoppers feel like they’re finding personalized solutions.
  • Consider building a platform with a key tech influencer to interact with your products and give recommendations.


About the Author
Katie Conzemius is Director of Customer Development in The Mars Agency’s Minneapolis office, where she leads the Best Buy practice.

Her 10-plus years of experience in commerce marketing includes a tour of duty in Best Buy’s brand advertising team working across major drive time campaigns, creative strategy, digital media, in-store marketing and other omnichannel disciplines.

The Mars Agency has the “know how” and experience to help clients build a best-in-class partnership with Best Buy. For more information, contact Meghan Heltne, SVP-Client Leadership, at [email protected].

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