This year’s crowd of back-to-school shoppers isn’t approaching this sales season the same way they did last year. And that means neither should ecommerce businesses.

That’s the word from PriceGrabber’s recent survey on 2012 spending this back-to-school season.

Back-to-school website optimization“Nearly 80% of shoppers plan to do their school supply shopping online,” said Rojeh Avanesian, Vice President of Marketing & Analytics at PriceGrabber during a recent “School Is Now In Session” webinar, which also featured Brett Bair, Senior Director of Strategic Services at Monetate.

The number of shoppers planning to shop online is up by 10% compared to 2011, indicating a change in shopping behavior thanks to desktop, mobile, and tablet browsing. But devices aren’t the only reason for the shift.

The PriceGrabber Survey also found that 46% of consumers plan to spend more on school supplies than they did last year, with 53% of those shoppers saying they plan to spend at least $500.

That’s a lot of good news for ecommerce businesses, but there’s a catch.

“People are moving online to compare prices,” said Avanesian. “That means online coupons, promos, and free shipping are more important than ever. Everyone is still looking to stretch their dollar.”

The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website for Back-to-School TrafficBottom line: There’s more cash up for grabs than ever this back-to-school shopping season, as long as online retailers create and leverage marketing campaigns that resonate with price-conscious shoppers.

Not sure exactly how to do that? We’ve got you covered. We’ve just posted our archived “School is Now in Session” webinar, and our brand new eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website for Back to School Traffic.”

They’re both full of best practices that will help you deliver the most relevant experience to back-to-school shoppers, increasing conversions and return traffic so you can make the most of this year’s spike in sales.