By: Colleen Corkery
Are you ready for an influx of Facebook and Instagram pics from life’s next big event? The event that affects parents, kids, businesses, and social feeds everywhere? We’re talking about back to school. Just how big is the back to school shopping season? Here’s a pop quiz for kicks:
Back to school generates more revenue than:
A) Father’s Day
B) Mother’s Day
C) Valentine’s Day
D) All of the Above
If you chose D, you get an A+ for being a top-notch business student. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s 2015 survey, back to school/college is expected to collectively result in more than $68 billion in revenue this year. That’s more than Father’s Day ($12.7B), Mother’s Day ($21.2B), or Valentine’s Day ($18.9B) combined, making back to school the second highest revenue generating “holiday” after the winter holidays ($616.1B) – Now that deserves a gold star.
What’s motivating people’s back to school spending habits? The NRF says 40.6% of people are shopping for sales more often, 45% of people decide where to shop based on the coupons they receive, and 26.5% of people plan to redeem coupons using their mobile phones. This is why sending mobile-friendly promotions via email or text message (sms) is key.
As a business owner, jumping on the back to school sales bandwagon today will earn you extra credit. While the traditional season starts after Labor Day, August 24th is the new trending school start date. In fact, some kids on the East Coast are already back in school now!
If you’ve already got your sales, offers, and promotions in the (brown) bag, keep spreading the word. NRF’s survey shows that 42.8% of people will shop three weeks to one month before school, and 30% of people don’t plan to shop for back to school until 1-2 weeks before school starts.
Researchers from Eyeview also found that found 66% of students and 74% of parents believe localized messaging is “the most impactful” part of a promotion. This gives local, small businesses an advantage.
What exactly are people spending their money on? The biggest contenders for households with children K-12 include clothing ($8.59B), electronics ($7.78B), shoes ($4.63B), and typical school supplies ($3.85B). Families with college students are spending more on electronics ($9.93B), clothing ($6.56B), dorm furnishings ($6B, up 31%), food ($5.65B), personal care items ($43.73B), gift cards ($2.28B), and more.
What if your business doesn’t sell traditional back to school items like backpacks, supplies, or clothing? Don’t let that discourage you. Appeal to the emotions and actions of a parent or new college student (others will gladly reap the benefits): Provide deals on anti-stress methods like spa and gym services, or outdoor activities. Own a salon? Everyone needs a new back to school picture or ID – Offer a deal on haircuts or color. Parents or college students may be driving back and forth from school soon – Offer deals on auto tuneups, car washes, etc. Who doesn’t appreciate a deal on lunch/snacks, or a fast meal after work/school when making dinner won’t cut it? The options are endless.
As a small business, the back to school shopping season has potential for placing you on the revenue generating honor roll. With that, here are even more insights to consider when planning or managing your back to school sales and marketing strategies: