Make the Merchandising Grade This Back-to-School Season

Jul 17, 2018 in CPG

The holidays may grab all the headlines, but don’t sleep on the back-to-school shopping season. In the run-up to the new school year, parents across the U.S. will hit up stores to buy their children new clothes, school supplies, and electronics. There’s a lot of revenue to be made for brands that effectively merchandise their wares and take advantage of the spike in foot traffic.

Here’s what you need to know about the 2018 back-to-school season, and how to make the most of it.

2018 shopping season kicks off early

Typically, parents wait until later in the summer to purchase new gear for the upcoming school year, but 2018 is shaking things up a bit. According to a recent Cardlytics report on back-to-school shopping activity, consumers were getting a jump on their school supplies needs as early as July 2018 – a full month earlier than expected.

The report credited this change in shopping behavior to Amazon Prime Day and the number of deals focused around school supplies and clothing. The good news is brick-and-mortar stores still account for the bulk of back-to-school shopping activity, capturing more than 73 percent of reported spending last year. There’s ample opportunity to bring in revenue, but brands need to get started on their merchandising efforts, if they haven’t already.

Clothing reigns supreme

Pencils, notebooks, backpacks: all staples of the back-to-school shopping frenzy. But the season is much more than just school supplies. In fact, parents spend more on clothing for the new school year than any other category.

According to Deloitte, shoppers devote, on average, 55 percent of their back-to-school budget to clothing and accessories. Apparel brands need to be sure their wares stand out from the crowd and capture the eyes of busy parents. Good retail merchandising practices are key, especially considering how easy it is for apparel to get lost in the rows after rows of clothing in retail stores. Create a dedicated display for back-to-school clothes where stores receive the heaviest foot traffic to grab shoppers’ attention and help drive sales.

Merchandise displays are also an excellent way to advertise back-to-school sales to shoppers hunting for a good deal, which includes most parents. A 2017 NPD study found that 60 percent of consumers will hold out to buy school supplies, clothing and other back-to-school items until they are on sale. Get the word out about discounted products through strong merchandising to reel in cost-conscious shoppers and increase your sales figures.

To help frontline employees monitor display and merchandising activity from store to store, consider implementing a mobile execution management solution. There’s no easier way to keep tabs on shopping trends and consumer behavior at local, regional and national levels.