A recent survey shows that 73 percent of back-to-school shoppers are using mobile Internet for nearly every part of their back-to-school shopping process.
In the past, back-to-school shopping was no more complicated than a one-and-done stop for pencils and backpacks, but this year tech-savvy shoppers have relied on mobile Internet more than ever before, leaving retailers scrambling to keep up.
A recent survey by location-based shopping platform Retale showed that of 1,000 parents with school-aged children surveyed, 73 percent were using mobile in nearly every part of the shopping process. This ranged from viewing product deals and comparing prices to directly purchasing school supplies. Meanwhile, retailers must keep up with customers who expect mobile and e-commerce options while not neglecting in-store customer service.
The key, says Pat Dermody, president of Retale, is for brands "to lean in and innovate." Seventy-nine percent of Retale respondents are relying on their mobile devices to make shopping lists, and Dermody feels that mobile is a great way for brands to "open doors for customers to be influenced and inspired."
Google data shows that searches for back-to-school haul videos are up 70 percent this year. In response, companies like Target have released their own lines of dorm haul videos through their YouTube channels, with popular designers offering tips for dorm room decorating.
Dermody also believes that to stay relevant, brands must "connect through e-mail, online reserve services, delivery, and in-store concierge desks." She also maintains that even though 65 percent of survey respondents are using mobile devices to compare product prices in-store, price isn’t always the deciding factor behind purchasing. She advises that "value also encompasses service, availability, and convenience" for most customers.
Finally, retailers and marketers must be aware of the changing needs of back-to-school shoppers. Nielsen reports that sales of traditional supplies like pencils, paper, and apparel are down, while sales of laptops and phones are up from last year. Dermody explains that the needs most shoppers have to fulfill are "much bigger than a lunchbox and a box of crayons; shoppers also need a flash drive and a $100-calculator."
Marketers who fail to acknowledge these needs are in danger of being left behind. In an increasingly digitized age where laptops have replaced paper and mobile has replaced shopping lists, only the retailers who keep ahead of increasing customer demand for accommodation both on and offline will remain relevant.
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
Emily Alford is a reporter at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Yahoo, and The Daily Meal. She has a PhD in English from Florida State University.
Hong Kong, May 5-6, 2015
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
May 6, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT