Summer vacations are winding down as the dawn of each day comes a little later and daylight dims a bit earlier in the sky. And with these absolute certainties comes the time when children and adolescents prepare to make their way back to school. While each locale initiates the migration at different days and weeks, most students begin to navigate to their various classrooms beginning in mid-August through the day just after the Memorial Day Holiday. The migration is as much a part of the American culture as the first day of major league baseball, backyard picnics and annual trips with the family to the beach, the mountain lakes or family reunions.
For retailers of school supplies, books, clothing and electronics, it is a time when families of kindergarten to college-aged children will spend an estimated $80.7 billion. While much has been lamented about the escalating cost of a college education, the vast majority of back-to-school spending will occur for those attending grades K-12. Most of this spending will occur in brick and mortar retailers with online sales expected to capture 29 percent of sales. Traditionally the back to school selling race lacked a specific and consistent crack of a starters pistol, but Amazon has once again risen to disrupt decades of marketing tradition with its Prime Day event. Held in mid-July, the now 48-hour sales event is coming to be recognized as the official start of the back to school shopping season.
For those heading back to college, the majority of sales will occur online with the older students wielding the most influence on the final buying decision. For the younger crowd of students, moms and dads will be footing the bill and insisting on the specifics of the average family’s $685.00 purchasing decisions. Moms get most of the credit for back to school spending but in reality, Dads are responsible for spending $115.00 more than Moms on back to school shopping.
In order to capture their fair share of the pot of gold, retailers will need to get up early and get out in front of the competition. Prime Day discounts will set the tone for the coming weeks as 60 percent of shoppers will utilize mobile technology to seek out the best bargains. Direct contact with consumers through social media platforms is critical for retailers who want to be relevant. Customer-centric strategies will prevail as will a focus on pricing and ease of purchase, both online and for brick and mortar stores. If one word can define the most critical aspect of a successful marketing strategy, it would be omnichannel. Personal customized content which targets each family influencer will help deliver a seamless shopping experience. Gen Z shoppers will use Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat to connect with brands. The back to school shopping season tends to come to an abrupt halt in the first week in of September, so getting out of the gate on-time is essential to achieving a chance of victory.
For more on how Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) can help you channel a successful back to school shopping campaign, call 678-686-1125 today.