It may only be mid-June, but retailers nationwide are already eyeing their share of almost $800 billion in estimated back-to-school sales.

Store shelves — both physical and virtual — are already being stocked with this year’s hottest apparel, school supplies, electronics and dorm essentials, all in hopes of luring early bird shoppers. However, beefing up inventory isn’t enough to guarantee a successful back-to-school shopping season.

With a mere two-month window available to grab customers’ attention, retailers must improve an array of operations from poor mobile experiences to ineffective marketing messages. If they don’t, not only will brands drive shoppers into the arms of competitors, these shoppers may not return later.

The following tips can get chains back-to-school ready:

Don’t ignore the value of customer reviews. There is no doubt that savvy parents are doing their share of back-to-school research online before heading into a store. And when making purchase decisions, they are foregoing email and search engines in favor of online ratings and reviews.

In fact, 90% of shoppers said user-generated content is the top source influencing their purchase decisions, according to “Hearing the Voice of the Consumer: UCG and the Commerce Experience,” a report from TurnTo…