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.
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
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.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
September 23, 2014
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT
October 23, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT