Most Back-to-School Shopping Begins Now, Don’t Miss Out!

Numbers from The National Retail Federation say that if you haven't started your back to school promotions yet, you're ok, but it's time to get started.

It’s nearly mid-August and if you listen closely, you’ll hear the school bells off in the distance.

Well, not really. But it is the end of summer. Everybody sigh in 3-2-1 …

Though it may be sad to see summer go, it could also be a great time for businesses that cater to Back-to-School shoppers.

According to the National Retail Federation’s latest Back-to-School Spending Survey, Americans this year will spend a whopping $27.3 billion on back-to-school supplies. That amount is the most spent since 2012, when a record $30.3 billion was spent, according to the organization’s data.

Now, while a lot of back-to-school marketing campaigns started about a month ago — that’s probably when you first started seeing commercials or online ads and displays in stores — most consumers don’t start shopping for supplies or new clothes until right about — NOW!

When To Start Your Back to School Promotions

The NRF data reveals that 73 percent of all back-to-school shoppers start actually buying the items between a week and a month prior to the start of school.

More specifically, just more than half (50.9 percent) of all shoppers start right now, about three weeks to a month prior to the first class bell ringing.

And about 5 percent (4.8 percent, specifically) wait until the week school starts or even after school starts to do their shopping.

You probably thought you missed out on the back-to-school rush this year but actually, a majority of the customers who will be doing that shopping could be heading to your store at this very moment.

The NRF survey revealed that only 22.2 percent of shoppers will look for back-to-school supplies “at least” two months before school starts.

This data should be encouraging to any shop that’s looking to cater to back-to-school shoppers. Of course, it’s not all good news.

NRF also found that small businesses aren’t the most popular destination for back-to-school shoppers. They’re actually number eigt on the list with just 16.4 percent of consumers planning to visit a small business for their back-to-school supplies.

Of course, that shouldn’t deter you from putting some time into marketing back-to-school. After all, even a small percentage of the staggering expenditure back-to-school shoppers will sink into a variety of products is worth the effort.

So, how can you compete?

Back to School Retail Tips

Obviously, you’ll want to prominently display a back-to-school promotion at your store. Get all your products that cater to the back-to-school theme front-and-center so shoppers can see them easily.

Don’t forget to update your social media channels with back-to-school sales posts, too. And a post on your company’s blog or a specific landing page that offers a back-to-school discount aren’t bad ideas either.

Another way your business may be able to keep up with those bigger discount stores that tend to dominate the market this season is to offer free shipping or some other form of very fast delivery.

The NRF survey also found that nearly all back-to-school shoppers — 89.4 percent — will look to take advantage of a free shipping deal on their supplies or other items they purchase.

1 Comment ▼

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

One Reaction
  1. Thanks for the reminder. I almost forgot that it is almost September. There are some good deals that you can promote during this time. Perfect time to target students as well.