Back to School Sales 2017 – Another Black Friday for Retailers!

retail analytics

It’s back to school season 2017! The second largest spending holiday which excites children and parents alike is here and is expected to be bigger than ever. If you are running behind in launching your back-to-school promotions, it is nothing to worry about. As per the National Retail Federation, parents strategically wait until the last minute to buy back-to-school goods, looking for deals and discounts.

National Retail Federation reports that US offline and online retail back to school sales this season will witness an increase of more than 10 percent over last year’s $75.8 billion, and is expected to hit a new milestone of more than $83.6 billion this year. This sale affects 29 million US household and 53 million children, and accounts for more than 50% of annual school-related spend.

Deloitte weighs in stating this year digital influence is expected to be stronger than ever across multiple touch point in customer journey. With more than two-third shoppers expecting offline and online retail channels to complement each other and 68 percent are favoring online channels owing to the value and convenience it can offer, this season is a bag full of opportunities for ecommerce retailers.

Retailers try to get most by planning their promotion campaigns around it, offering conveniences like free shipping, return and exchange, buy online and return to store, and classic discount offers. But with every ecommerce chasing to cater same audience, there are chances of some failing miserably and some conquering this opportunity in flying colors.

This year, parents are expected to spend an average of $688 (Source: NRF) in back to school sales. As an ecommerce retailer, you have to make sure that this amount adds to your revenue, instead of letting it go to your competitor’s kitty. To ensure that you are ahead of your competitor in all aspects of 4P, i.e. product, place, price and promotion, you need to deploy a competitive intelligence solution to remain updated of the course competitors are taking and remain abreast of the key 4P market trends. It is not uncommon for organizations to use basic competitive intelligence solutions, but they often deliver insights in fragments due to the lack of available, unified answers. The ecommerce retailers who fail to leverage the opportunity partly owes it to issues like lack of real time alerts particularly in holiday season for new product introductions, promotion strategy, and price changes executed by competition. And as Back to School sale attributes to around 50% of overall annual school-related spend; quick reaction can help tap the season’s fervor.

What Retailers can do to make most out of this back to school sales season?  

1. 1/3rd of back to school sales shopper plans to use social media for transactional purpose. Host your promotions and offers on social media website to attract shoppers.

2. A segment of shoppers worth $5.4 billion is “undecided” about their mode of shopping (online or in-store). Running targeted promotions campaigns will sway this section to your desired channel.

3. 56% of shoppers research online before buying a product. Thus, content marketing and influencer marketing will be a profitable marketing instrument for this season.

4. NRF found that 46.7% of consumers prefer shopping three weeks to one month before school starts, plan your inventory accordingly.

retail analytics

Source for data: NRF

5. It was also reported by NRF that 90% of shoppers agreed to purchase from an online retailer if they offer free shipping, making this most expedient offer for retailers.

6. 30% of consumers plan to purchase pre-configured schools supply kits, thus running bundle offer on school supply will be a gainful tactic for retailers.

sales dataSource for data: Deloitte

Blueocean Market Intelligence’s flagship product Minerva is a comprehensive SAAS competitive intelligence solution tailored to cater the needs of various business functions involved in planning (execution, including launches, pricing), marketing, and voice of customer. It provides a unified view with access to different aspects of competitive and owned-intelligence in near real-time so companies can deploy a timely, informed response. Minerva can help team get real time alerts focused on new product introduction, price changes, promotion introduction & changes at a set cadence. With dashboards and automated reports and updates through mail alerts, Minerva enables you to always stay ahead of the curve.

In all, to reap the rewards of back-to-school shopping, you need to keep an eye on all the tactics and moves of your competitors, and enhance your existing strategy.