The back-to-school season can boost your sales numbers even if you aren't involved in typical areas like office supplies or clothing.

So how can small business owners take advantage of the back-to-school frenzy online? Here are some tips for making the most of the short season.

Figure out how you fit in

Don't be distressed simply because you aren't in the business of selling rucksacks and school uniforms. Cash-strapped uni students love a discount haircut; teachers may treat themselves to an end-of-summer-holidays spa day and school drop-offs and commutes will increase. So offering a discount on an MOT or oil change for the family car, for example, would be much appreciated.

Think outside the box: How can your business, specifically, fit in?

Take advantage of mobile coupons

Create a back-to-school digital discount code. Ecommerce systems like Woocommerce or Shopify can help you to create these relatively easily. Recently it was reported that 39% of customers spend more if they receive a personalised coupon. Mobile coupons are also cheaper than paper coupons to distribute, and they get redeemed more frequently.

Make sure you're mobile ready

Another recent survey by global polling firm Penn Schoen Berland surveyed 1,500 participants and found that 60% of parents plan to buy at least one thing on a mobile device this autumn, and 30% plan to do at least a fourth of their shopping on their mobile.

A responsive mobile website should be at the very top of your list. If you don't have one and you don't have the resources to upgrade your current site, make use of existing platforms that are already mobile-accessible, like Facebook Pages and Google My Business.

Launch an online loyalty program

Launch a loyalty program during the back-to-school shopping rush. Create a system that rewards users after they complete specific actions - for example, when they check in at your shop or enter a promotion on your page. Apps like Stamp Me or Shoutem can help you do this fairly easily.

Tapping into the back-to-school crowd now and encouraging them to stay loyal could mean more sales for your business in the future. Families often have children in community schools for more than a decade. If you can make a connection with them early in the process, those families are likely to continue doing business with you year after year, whatever your business is.

Do good for schools

To build goodwill and get involved with your community, aim to take part of a philanthropic project annually, or, if you have the time and resources, do something charitable more regularly. Some ideas: Use a percentage of online sales in August and September to buy extra school supplies for classrooms at a local school, or have a clothing drive in October to donate winter coats to students in need. Tie these efforts into your digital marketing campaigns by offering loyalty points for spreading the word on social media, for example. 

Once you start thinking about it, it's easy to see how small business owners can take advantage of the back-to-school frenzy online, even those who aren't in the business of selling more-traditional back-to-school items.

Want to learn more about how to create a smooth e-commerce experience for your customers?