It’s Time For Back To School Already?

Blog It’s Time For Back To School AlreadyBack to school? Summer isn’t even half over yet!

Just about everybody remembers feeling that way when seeing the first back to school advertisement when hoping the summer would last forever. If it seems like back to school sales keep getting bigger and starting earlier, they do. With schools in some districts starting back up in early August, it’s important to make sure not to miss out on those markets. This is especially true for e-commerce, where 64% of consumers plan to do some spending this year.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of Back To School 2016.

  1. Stratify the market – 50 million kids will hit public classrooms this Fall, with 35 million attending elementary or middle school and 15 million more going to high school. Five million more will go to private schools and more than 20 million will head off to college. These are all different markets that each contain demographic submarkets, each with different preferences.
  2. Target the purse strings – The back to school market is in expansion mode. 44% of consumers said they will spend more on back to school in 2016 than last year and 45% said they will spend the same; only 10% plan to spend less. But when it comes to turning intent into revenue, it matters who is actually doing the buying. In the apparel sector, only 38% of kindergarten – second grade students have strong influence on back to school purchases while 71% of 9th – 12th graders call the shots.
  3. Compete on the right metric – Back to school shoppers are extremely price sensitive. More than 75% of families say back to school is a strain on their personal budgets and 55% ranked price as the most important priority for purchase decisions. Quality came in second place, so focusing messaging around value is an effective tool for back to school promotion.
  4. Get online – but not at the expense of brick and mortar – While 64% of consumers plan to do some back to school shopping online this year, only 38% say they will buy more than 5% of their basic supplies there and 38% also said they are likely to buy apparel online. Brick and mortar still matters and options like buy online and pick-up in store are likely to appeal to consumers who want to make sure they get what they need without having to wait for or pay for shipping.
  5. Expand your horizons – Think about the impact of back to school. As kids return to school and people return from vacation, the season also marks back to work and the return of Fall fashions. This season offers a multitude of promotional opportunities for just about any sector including electronics, sportswear, outdoor gear, furniture, etc. Whether you call it back to school or not, take advantage of this time of year to boost sales.

If you have a little bit of fear instituting back to school promotions too early, erase them. An early start is better than a late start, and the season ramps up during the second half of July. Be ready for it!


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