Retail Trends

How to Make Back-to-School Work for You

2 min read

Back-to-school season continues to be one of the most significant retail seasons of the year, and this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that back-to-school (BTS) spending will more than 10% over 2016 to $83.6 billion.

According to the NRF, nearly half of back-to-school shoppers will wait to do their shopping the month before going back to class, and one-in-five haven’t decided whether they will be shopping online or in-store, a segment worth about $5.4 billion (an average of $549 per shopper). This means there is still time  for retailers to attract new shoppers and boost sales in 2017 with back-to-school offers.

Higher Average Spending Predicted for 2017

According do Deloitte, back-to-college shopping will account for nearly two-thirds of the back-to-school season retail spend – roughly $46 billion on back-to-college shopping—nearly double the expected spend of $27 billion for K-12 back-to-school purchases.

The average spending for the college-bound student is estimated to be $1,452, almost triple compared to the $458 average for primary/secondary school students.  For both, this month will comprise more than half their annual spending.

Add BOPIS and Pre-assembled Kits to Compete with Amazon

The NRF data shows that over 50 percent of consumers will do at least some BTS shopping online. An omnichannel-ready solution provides shoppers with flexible options to consolidate their shopping, save time and avoid summer crowds. Many shoppers are attracted to the Buy Online, Pick-up in Store (BOPIS) model because they can save on delivery costs. It also gives stores a chance to appeal to shoppers with items they might have forgotten, or perhaps not even thought of in the first place.

Taking an omnichannel approach, retailers can make their promotions work whether a customer starts their purchase journey in the store or at home. This year, Bed Bath & Beyond will let customers shop at their local store or online and collect their entire purchase at the location closest to campus or pop-up shops to be set up on campuses across the country. These will also be stocked with best-selling items for last-minute or impulse purchases.

Inventory Management Tools to Set Up Seasonal Sales Quickly

Stores like Target and Walmart let teachers upload their supply lists, giving them another way to gauge the kind of products they should stock and what items they might be able to sell in pre-assembled “bundles” or kits. Retail management solutions like Openbravo Commerce Suite allow retailers to introduce new products, set pricing and discounting packages faster across all or just a few stores, and drive sales more effectively than ever before.

Stores may also opt for using Demand Forecasting and Inventory Planning software, which takes into account market trends and previous sales data, so that retailers can predict stock orders more accurately.  And if inventory runs out unexpectedly in one store, today’s mobile POS systems allow store assistants to order the item from another store or distribution center and set up the customer’s preferred payment and fulfillment method on the spot, thus avoiding lost sales whenever possible.

To find out more about Openbravo’s Demand Forecasting and Inventory Planning capabilities, watch our webinarDemo for Retailers: Demand Forecasting & Inventory Planning-Openbravo & frePPLe.