Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Purchase
As the new school year kicks into high gear for most of the country, parents and students will find a changing shopping landscape. No longer are they racing to retail stores without a plan for braving the crowd days before the school year starts. Digitally-driven brick and mortar purchases are changing the way consumers shop.
Shopping at brick-and-mortar retail stores without being prepared is less popular with back-to-school shoppers. Digitally driven shopping now guides the shopping habits of consumers looking to grab better deals and avoid long lines. Digital is also helping them plan their back-to-school shopping strategy throughout the calendar year. Consumers are using apps to research products on their mobile phones. The statistics help explain the behavior shift:
- According to Deloitte, last year nearly half of every dollar spent on apparel in brick-and-mortar stores was digitally-influenced, a number that jumped to 62 cents of every dollar in the electronics category.
- Nearly 4 in 10 of surveyed parents shopping for children in grades K-12 said the back to school shopping season is less important to their families because they replenish school supplies throughout the year and feel less need to stock up.
- And 31% of consumers complete their shopping after the school year begins.
As part of our back-to-school Shopper Safari retail audit, we saw four key themes: 1) Battle for the best prices, 2) Impactful point-of-sale displays, 3) Charitable and caused-based program overlays, and 4) Selling solutions. Click here to view our Shopper Safari recap.
Retailers should be targeting a window larger than the traditional back-to-school shopping period for their marketing efforts. Back-to-school shopping is now a year round endeavor, so opportunities exist for brands and retailers to capitalize on that. By focusing on consumers and their reliance on digital, retailers can drive in-store purchases more successfully. Digitally fluent shoppers have a plan before they walk through the doors, and in-store purchases of items like apparel are easily planned for. According to Bazaar Voice, 61% of back-to-school shoppers research online before purchasing in-store.
As consumers continue to look for more convenient shopping experiences for their students, digital allows them opportunities to plan and to purchase when it’s convenient for them. As retailers look to future shopping seasons such as Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season, the goal should be to stay on top of this shift in consumer behavior and take advantage of the digital movement to boost their in-store sales.