Teacher Wish List: They Want Discounts As They Cope With COVID-19 Pandemic

Teachers have a rough life even in the best of times. Their pay scale ranks among the lowest of the learned professions. Yet they often end up buying supplies for students out of their own pockets. 

Thus, it’s no big secret what they want from brands: discounts -- especially those offered by email, according to a new to new information based, in part, on monitoring of teacher discount verifications by SheerID. 

There has been a 60% increase in the use of teacher discounts to make purchases in the first half of 2020, versus the same period last year. And the number of ecommerce purchases went up by 270% from the first quarter to the second of 2020. 

Moreover, 75% had spent an average of $100 online prior to the pandemic. But those numbers have flipped—76% have now spent $100 or less. Another 33% have not spent any money out of pocket.

Maybe they’re not buying traditional classroom staples. But these educators are shelling out money to meet other needs. 



For instance, teachers have spent on “other” supplies to support teaching (49%), instructional resources (45%), technology to support working from home (43%), other home office equipment (40%) and student rewards (25%). 

In addition, 16.3% have laid out their own funds for reading materials for students, while 6.3% have laid out money on professional development and 3.1% have spent money on experiences for students. 

Why wouldn’t they? Of the teachers studied, 98% report that their school buildings have closed to students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition, teachers made four times as many online apparel purchases using a teacher discount, and almost three times as many buys in software and learning, according to SheerID. 

SheerID analyzed online verifications among teachers for the first half of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.  

Verifications occur when a teacher submits information to the SheerID platform to prove they are entitled to a teacher discount. 

In separate research, 1,616 teachers responded to a survey conducted in April and May by Interactive Educational Systems Design and sponsored by Agile Education Marketing.

Here are the types of deals that appeal most to teachers:    

  • 20% off an individual purchase — 60%
  • Free perks such as free shipping or free checked bags — 57%
  • Buy one, get one free (BOGO) — 53% 
  • 10% off every purchase — 51% 
  • A free gift—30%

Here’s how they want to receive these offers and other brand communications: 

  • Email — 53%
  • Social media posts/stories — 40%
  • Brand website — 31% 
  • Online ads — 28%
  • Direct mail — 27%
  • In-Store ads — 24.3% 
  • Ads that appear in teacher publications — 23%
  • TV/radio — 17%
  • Text/SMS — 11.7%
  • Events — 5%
  • Podcasts — 3.9%
  • Ads that appear in student publications — 2.3% 

Email is also widely used for sharing information about discounts and offers — 73% use it, although 79.3% like to tell their colleagues in person. Another 55.6% might send a text message, and 42.8% post on social media. 

Also, 31.9% post online, telling where other teachers can learn about the discount. And 30.2% share a referral link through the brand’s website. 

Teachers are split the question of whether school budgets meet their professional needs — 49.7% say they are adequate, while 50.3% say they are not. 

Inadequate funding affected students and teachers in these ways: 

  • I had to spend my own money instead — 86.5%
  • Classroom supplies were inadequate — 58.3%

Of the teachers thus surveyed, 73% sat they are more likely to buy from a company that offers a teacher discount for personal items. And 93% are more prone to buy from a firm that discounts classroom items.

What drives teachers? Here are the most critical parts of their identity:

  • Being a teacher — 84% 
  • My family role — 82%
  • The school where I work — 48%
  • My religion — 51% 
  • My hobby or activity — 48%)
  • Where I live — 46% 
  • My nationality/cultural background — 35%  
  • My political affiliation — 22% 

These are the fine professionals who have been belittled by some politicians.

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