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Gearing Up for the Final Sprint: Back-to-School 2018

3 min read

Midway through August, retailers still have time to capitalize on a significant piece of the $82.8 billion pie predicted by the NRF this year by leveraging their omnichannel capabilities.

According to last year’s data, less than 15 percent had completed all their shopping by August, and more than a quarter had not even started. And there are at least 5 percent like me who waited until after classes began to get what they need. Overall, over 90 percent still have half or more of their purchases left to complete.

Here are a few ways retailers can gear up for the Final Sprint in Back-to-School shopping this year.

Save the best promotions for last

For both k-12 and college consumers, over 40% were influenced by promotions, online or in stores. Students have more say on purchases based on trends and reviews, particularly when it comes to clothing and electronics, which is the biggest spend for college students. And more than half of remaining shoppers are still waiting for the best deals for the items on their lists.

Solutions equipped with a strong merchandise management capabilities such as Openbravo Commerce Cloud allow retailers to use real-time data and optimize promotions based on sales as well as set pricing and discounting packages faster and drive sales more effectively than ever before.

Replenish Stock Faster

Those doing their shopping at the last minute expect shelves to be as fully stocked as those who shopped at the beginning. So whether items have flown off the shelves or there is a new item you want to add to your offering, an integrated retail solution makes it easy to place orders and quickly replenish your stock as needed.

Cut Down Wait Times

During peak times, retailers can deploy more mobile POS to help the checkout queue move faster, or payments and orders can be made on the spot, so that customers avoid the queue altogether. As discussed in  recent post, your retail solution should be able to easily integrate line-busting innovations like self-checkout kiosks and mobile payments, so customers are never kept waiting too long.

Offer More Convenient Delivery Options

Retailers can really differentiate themselves from the competition by offering free shipping, and timed deliveries, particularly in the case of university housing.  In stores, mobile POS can be used to place an order if the customer wants it delivered to another store or right to their university housing, and the payment can be processed on the spot.

Facilitate Easy Returns

Whether a student wants to upgrade their purchase or got the wrong item, today’s mobile POS can be easily configured to make the returns process much easier so that customers are encouraged to continue their purchase journey with them.

Build Up Loyalty across Channels

To really keep in step with millennials and Gen Z students today, retailers need strategies to cover their bases on three channels: in stores, online, and mobile.  One recent study showed that businesses that adopt an omnichannel retail strategy reach 91 percent greater customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t.

College students are increasingly likely to buy certain supplies throughout the year instead on stocking up at the start, which is a compelling reason for retailers to promote their customer loyalty program as a personalized and convenient way for students to get what they need when and wherever they need it, online or in stores.

Retailers can leverage their customer loyalty program and purchase histories to target promotions specifically to students and drive sales right now as well as throughout the academic year.


An omnichannel experience provides shoppers with flexible options which help them save time and turn them into loyal and returning customers across channels. To learn how Openbravo can help you execute your omnichannel strategies, take a free Product Tour.

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