Back to School Season is Here

Sharpen those pencils folks, it’s that time of year again! As schools reopen and students welcome back in-classroom education, the 2021 back-to-school season is expected to make up for the shopping slack we saw in the previous year. Back to school spending is set to hit an all-time high and surpass $37B this year up from last year’s $33B!

Parents are desperate to send their children off to school and they are willing to spend extra dollars in preparation for the new school year; a notable trend that is getting both brand marketers and retailers excited.

As consumer shopping patterns continue to change during this year, marketers and retailers will have to rethink their back-to-school and back-to-college strategies.

The best way for them to do this? Focus on an omnichannel approach to reel in consumers from both online and in-store channels. Let’s dive in.

Brick and Mortar Sales

64% of back-to-school and college shoppers expect classes will be in person this year. Retailers are prepping for what could be the biggest back-to-school shopping season in 5 years with a forecast of 16% growth over last year! Back to school shoppers intend to shop both at small businesses as well as large retailers. However, 60% of back-to-school shoppers plan to do a portion of their shopping at small businesses this year.

Brick and mortar sales are set to continue dominating this back-to-school season with 77% of consumers stating that they plan to do their back-to-school shopping in person. This means that brands should make sure their brick and mortar locations are ready to handle having consumers back in person en masse once more. Brands and retailers should also consider tactics that have proven effective at driving traffic into their stores such as mobile ads with custom maps to the closest location.

Back to school season is the second most popular time of year after the winter holidays for retailers. Are you ready to get your message in front of the right consumer? More than 80% of American households have streaming devices in their homes, making CTV/OTT ads an effective way for brands and retailers to reach these potential customers right wherever they stream.

Reach Online Shoppers through Digital Advertising

Although in-store traffic for back-to-school shoppers is set to increase, this does not mean that digital channels should be neglected, actually far from it! Many consumers will continue to shop online, especially those shopping for college students. Digital advertising is an ideal way to reach consumers; this is especially true with mobile – by 2025, 72% of all consumers will solely use their mobile devices to access the web.

This sudden increased dependence on online shopping has created a need for retailers and brands to curate unified marketing strategies across both online and in-store modes of shopping. Retailers can use this opportunity to integrate inventory across channels and push out in-store inventory online.

50% of consumers in the United States have stated that they check a brand’s online inventory prior to making the trip in person. Brands and retailers who offer digital glimpses into their physical locations help provide the reassurance consumers need in order to complete their purchase. By promoting your business through digital channels you can reach these consumers and drive in-store traffic to your different locations.

How to Align E-Commerce and In-Person Sales

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of both brick and mortar as well as online sales, let’s take a look at marketing and merchandising strategies designed to help businesses like yours achieve optimal results.

You’ll need to understand that customers are primarily concerned with who offers the best deals. As a business, your first priority should be to think along those lines and come prepared with a strategy that helps your brand be top of mind.

You will also need to ensure that while you’re offering the best prices, your brands are ranking on online searches as consumers are likely to click on brands that are displayed first whilst they search for products online. For many consumers, online shopping will remain a habit.

Multichannel campaigns are more likely to drive lift and engagement while keeping your brand top of mind. The benefits include, but are not limited to, increase in-store traffic, lift in brand awareness, improve consumer reach and increase your campaign lift.

By keeping a flexible approach, your business can develop creative offers and messaging to reflect your ideal customer’s current needs and lead to an increase in sales. Reach back to school shoppers where they engage the most today.

Contact us to get started today!