The Back-to-School Season is Here

John Scott
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The back-to-school shopping season is the second-busiest shopping season of the year, but there is also a lot of competition in the retail world, and parents are planning their back-to-school shopping lists with a budget. Because of this, it's important for retail stores to be prepared and have an effective marketing plan in place before the buying season begins.

Many retailers are going into the upcoming fall shopping season with hopes that sales will drastically increase over the amount of sales they've already seen this year. According to the Associated Press, an abundance of retailers faced a tepid first half of 2013, and the Commerce Department only showed a 0.4 percent increase in retail sales from May to June. While the back-to-school shopping season doesn't hit its full swing until mid-August, retailers have been scrambling to attract customers since early July. With so many major retailers depending on the back-to-school selling season, competition is expected to be fierce. Many companies are implementing new techniques to attract shoppers. In fact, Target is setting up numerous pop-up locations on college campuses.

According to a survey completed by BIGinsight, almost 77 percent of families with school-aged children say that the US economy will impact their back-to-school shopping plans. Many parents are making children search their rooms for school supplies from last year that can be reused, comparing prices online before they shop, and clipping coupons to save money. Even though parents are shopping on limited budgets, there are things you can do to attract customers to your store, including:

  • Holding a back-to-school sale
  • Sending out coupons in the weekly newspaper for specific products
  • Using social networking outlets to promote online sales
  • Holding a sales specifically for online shoppers
  • Matching prices from other retailers
  • Setting up your own pop-up location in neighborhoods or malls to give shoppers additional options

It's also important to know what people are buying. Pop-up locations can help you test different products to see what products interest consumers before your back-to-school sale starts. You can also use social networks to gauge consumers' reactions to products and prices. Once you've determined which products your target market wants to purchase, you can advertise your back-to-school sale so that these products attract new buyers.

Remember, you don't have to sell school or office supplies to benefit from the back-to-school shopping surge. Parents aren't only purchasing paper, pencils, and binders. Many parents need to get all their fall shopping completed before school starts so that they can easily transition their household into a normal school-year schedule. As long as you have a solid marketing plan in place, your store can benefit from all of the back-to-school shopping sprees.

(Photo courtesy of stockimages /


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