Brick & Mortar Retailers: Capitalize on Back-to-School Shopping

The back-to-school shopping season consistently earns retailers big bucks every year. Parents of kids of all ages, even college-aged young adults, spend hundreds of dollars at the end of summer to get equipped for a new school year. Nearly 70% of consumers plan to spend up to $500 this back-to-school shopping season. In addition, 17% of consumers plan to spend between $500 and $1,000.

This year, Google analyzed back-to-school search trends and found this may be the earliest back-to-school shopping season on record. Google analysts believe the freedom to shop anywhere, at anytime and on any device has expedited back-to-school shopping this year. A small number of shoppers have already started shopping, but momentum is forecasted to pick-up heavily throughout early to mid-August.

Back-to-school season is the second highest shopping time every year. Are you ready for the back-to-school boost?

Special Deals

Retailers in certain areas will benefit heavily in coming weeks from statewide tax-free holidays designed just for back-to-school shopping. But these retailers still have to get creative to compete with the store down the street and online stores. In the week or two leading up to prime shopping weekends, build shopper momentum and excitement using traditional advertising channels or social media. 91% of moms are regularly using social media. Let your online audience in early on what specials you’re planning.

Shoppers need proper incentive to shop in your store. Try offering free giveaway contests for in-store customers, in-store only specials or hold kid-friendly events in-store on prime back-to-school shopping weekends. Large retailers are offering door busters to get customers in the door. Staples plans to attract shoppers with bargains on packs of erasers, index cards and pens for a penny with the hope they will make more expensive purchases like tablets and mobile devices.

Organize Your Store

Brick and mortar retailers should designate special areas in-store for products school shoppers might want. Make it easy for your customers to find what they need. Also, this is another great way to suggest impulse products that fit the back-to-school season.
Organize Your Shoppers

Check with local schools and provide individual school checklists with items each student needs. For older students without school lists, make your own list with recommended products high school and college students might need. Make these lists available online and available for mobile download for your customer’s convenience.

Speedy Checkouts

During special shopping seasons, checkout lines tend to clog and long, lengthy lines can drive customers to shop primarily online. Don’t lose out on the impatient, modern customer. There’s a better way. Combat congested checkout lines by offering a mobile checkout option.

8 out of 10 mothers own a smartphone. Offering this type of convenience is easier than ever. Some small or medium sized retailers can have a mobile app up and running in only days by partnering with the right provider. Your customer’s can scan their own products at their own pace and complete their transaction by themselves on their own mobile device. That’s not all the perks your customers get with a mobile app. Customers can also make their own wish lists, scan a product and view more information about it and receive personalized recommendations and rewards.

Convert Visitors to Regulars

As the second largest shopping season every year, back-to-school time gives retailers a huge opportunity. Retailers could see a lot of shopper traffic for school shopping and you’ve got to put your best foot forward. Use social media to let your customer base know about any special sales or events your having surrounding back-to-school. Differentiate yourselves from competing retailers and promote what you’ve got to offer during back-to-school season.

Most importantly be prepared to show your shoppers what you offer outside of this season. Even if it’s as simple as placing marketing handouts in each shopping bag or utilizing at the register conversations, self-promote your customer programs. If you’ve got loyalty programs, a mobile app or other features that set you apart, let every visitor know about it. Think beyond one busy shopping weekend. Don’t waste this opportunity to convert visitors into regular shoppers during the back-to-school rush.

The back-to-school season is already upon us. The holiday season starts earlier every year and that will arrive before you know it. Start creating an engaging and helpful brand experiences now – before customers flood the shelves.

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