Back to School ideas

5 Back-to-School Contest Ideas for Any Business

Back-to-School season is the second largest retail shopping holiday in the U.S. If you’re a retail or eCommerce store (especially one selling school supplies or clothes), it’s easy to capitalize on this time of year with coupons, BOGO sales, or promotional discounts on certain products or purchases.

If you don’t sell school supplies or clothes, it can be a bit harder to come up with an effective BTS promotion.

Here are some ideas that may help you benefit from the Back-to-School buzz:

Even if your business is far from school or student-related, you can still offer prizes that will attract students or their parents. A backpack full of supplies, or a gift card for a clothing or shoe store, for example. With that in mind, let’s get to the promotions.

Idea 1) First Day of School Outfit Contest

Use a UGC contest to ask customers and fans to submit a photo of themselves in their favorite new “first-day” outfit. Open the gallery for voting to encourage sharing and collect data from voters to add to your email list.

BTS contest example

Idea 2) Back-to-School Care Package Contest

This promotion uses a basic Giveaway or Sweepstakes app, but the focus is on offering a really cool prize — something more than just school supplies.

Pack the prize with sunglasses, food gift cards, earbuds, etc. Offer a prize that doesn’t just provide classroom supplies, but would help a student feel cool and ready to make new friends when they go back. Even the un-coolest of businesses can increase engagement by offering a fun BTS care package. Enable bonus entries for referrals to get students sharing and bringing in more entries.

(Super-cool prize pac)

Idea 3) Healthy Lunch Recipe Contest

This is another way you can utilize the UGC app for this time of year. Ask entrants to submit photos with captions or text-only recipes for their favorite healthy or quick-and-easy lunch prep for students. Enable voting in the gallery and let your fans pick the best submission. This promotion would be perfect for food or kitchenware companies.


Idea 4) Back-to-School Hacks

Use a Pin-to-Win promotion to have entrants pin their favorite DIY back to school life-hack. In this offer, the prize could be very simple as most participants will be interested in learning something new that will help them organize their hectic work/school lives.

BTS pin to win

Idea 5) Create Coupons for Parents

Don’t forget about parents during back-to-school season. Why not invite them to “celebrate” kids heading back to class with coupons offering discounts on massages, facials, or an afternoon spa retreat? A bar or restaurant could provide buy-one-get-one vouchers for drinks or meals during lunch.

Coupon BTS blog

Wrapping it Up

Even if you don’t use one of these ideas, we hope that this article helped convey that no matter what business you’re in, you can take advantage of this very lucrative time of year – and maybe even inspired an idea for your next campaign. If you have questions or would like to discuss an idea, feel free to email us at