The end of summer is nearly here. It’s hard to believe but Halloween decorations are beginning to appear, and school supplies are out in full force. Over the next few weeks, Americans will spend nearly $27 billion preparing to send kids back to school.

And if you haven’t heard already, mobile usage is expected to move to the front of the class for back-to-school shoppers. In fact, it’s estimated that 60% will rely on smartphones to look up prices and find the best deals. However, most consumers will still visit their favorite local merchant to purchase supplies.

Back-to-school shopping no longer means a couple of notebooks and a new pair of shoes. The average student will spend $519 preparing for the upcoming school year. On what you may ask? The list of necessary school supplies continues to grow, not to mention the need for tablets, laptops and calculators. And don’t forget, little Jimmy grew a foot taller over summer break and his jeans now look more like capris? Clothing and accessories represent the majority of back-to-school shopping.

Category Share of total back-to-school spend Average category spend % of shoppers purchasing
Clothing and accessories 54% $290 97%
School supplies 22% $117 98%
Electronic gadgets 13% $305 22%
Computers and hardware 11% $286 20%

Back-to-school shoppers are looking for three important qualities with every purchase:

  1. Price – good pricing with discounts and offers
  2. Product – wide variety with in-stock items
  3. Convenience – one section/location and easy checkout

So how can local businesses play in this mega-shopping tidal wave? By doing your homework and being prepared! Here are four tips to ensure your business is ready for back-to-school.

Tip #1: Be Mobile

You must be prepared to reach shoppers through mobile—mobile-friendly websites, search marketing for those “near me” searches and of course, text messaging.

Tip #2: Have Offers

Parents, especially those with multiple children, love a good deal. And during back-to-school shopping, this is on the top of the list. Provide loyal customers with a special VIP discount. Offer new customers an introductory offer. The options are limitless.

Tip #3: Make Sure Google Maps is Accurate

86% of people will look up a business location on Google Maps. If your business listing is inaccurate, you will lose potential customers. Ensure your phone number, address and of course hours of operation, are updated and ready for these active shoppers.

Want to double check how your listings are accurate? We have a free tool for you.

Tip #4: Be Social

Every second 11 new users join social media. If you’re not leveraging social media to connect and engage with your audience, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. With social media, local businesses can promote deals, showcase new products, thank loyal customers and even provide helpful information.

Back-to-school season is a pre-cursor to the upcoming holiday season. Ensure you’re prepared with a strong marketing strategy to end your year at the head of the class. And if you decide you need a little help, Vivial is here for you! Contact us today.



Source: Data from Deloitte 2019 Back to School Shopping.