Quick Shortcuts to Maximize Back-to-School Sales

Did you know that back-to-school is the longest shopping season in the United States? Many retailers don’t recognize this important fact, however eMarketer reports that customers actually shop for back-to-school goods from July to September, meaning the beginning of the back-to-school shopping season is right around the corner. Fortunately, if you get a head start on selecting and marketing your back-to-school inventory right away, you will be well positioned to welcome back-to-school shoppers when they start trickling into your store or logging onto your website. Another reason to want to get your back-to-school goals in order? According to a recent study be RetailMeNot, 89 percent of retailers believe there is more competition for back-to-school shoppers than ever before. Thus, competition is fierce.  As a result, retailers must be on their game in order to beat out their competition and effectively increase back-to-school sales year-over-year for their unique stores.

To give your customers a standout retail experience that will motivate them to spend with you instead of your competition during the back-to-school season, consider how you can create a competitive retail operation while maximizing back-to-school sales for your retail business. To help, explore three selling shortcuts below.

Shortcut #1: Plan Your Inventory

To make margins during back-to-school season, you first need to identify which categories are historically your best-sellers during the months of June – September, which is when most back-to-school shopping takes place. Whether you identify your store’s top-selling categories by checking your past year’s sales data, use a POS system integration that supplies you with this information, or you have another way of reviewing your store’s sales patterns during this essential shopping season, effectively mining this consumer data is essential to your ability to ensure you’re stocked up on the necessary categories and products to make your best margins yet during back-to-school season. Don’t overlook the value in trend products, as well, during this busy buying season. Be sure to introduce a small percentage of your total back-to-school units that cater to trend goods with the plan to sell them out and sell them quickly.

Quick Tip: Keep in mind that history is often the best predictor of future consumer behavior. As a result, by pinpointing your top-selling categories during back-to-school season, you’ll be best positioned to stock your shelves with the products that historically sell best with your customers during back-to-school season and to increase your back-to-school margins along the way.   

Shortcut #2: Create a Stress-Free Experience

Many parents – who are the majority spenders of back-to-school spending – are reported to be stressed out by back-to-school shopping. In fact, according to RetailMeNot, 9 out of 10 parents say that back-to-school shopping for their offspring is “anxiety-inducing,” and 79 percent of parents are stressed about the financial burden of paying for all of the necessary purchases for their children. Additionally, RetailMeNot reports that as a result of pricing anxiety, most parents start their back-to-school shopping 4 weeks in advance and plan ahead to afford major back-to-school purchases. Understanding all of the hoops that parents jump through to get the best prices on back-to-school purchases for their children sheds a light on the need for retailers to offer competitive pricing on top-selling merchandise. Plus, it’s important to consider how your store can ease these shopping scenarios to help lure them to your retail business to shop with you versus anywhere else.

Quick Tip: As a retailer, you can set your brand apart by helping to alleviate the stress of costly back-to-school shopping by taking actions such as: getting a head start on promoting your back-to-school inventory, breaking up the cost of high-priced items, giving your customers first access to deals and discounts… and more!

Shortcut #3: Partner with Other Businesses

In a world where cost is often the most important factor in determining where parents choose to purchase back-to-school items for their children, it can be beneficial for retailers to get creative in terms of how they welcome customers to spend more with them.  Among the ways to do this includes partnering with other businesses and/or solution providers that can lower the cost of your best-selling products through: bulk purchases (on historically top-performing inventory), product bundling to offer customers a great package deal, or lowering the up-front cost of your products by breaking the price of more costly items down into affordable payments.

Quick Tip: Prevent alienating price-conscious back-to-school customers with the cost of your products by partnering with a business such as Quadpay that gives customers the option to break down the cost of expensive products into four simple payments over a 6-week time period.

Closing Thoughts

Although the back-to-school shopping season is increasingly profitable for retailers, merchants must be forward-thinking in their efforts to capture more customer attention. To do this, retailers should aim to get a head-start on their back-to-school promotional strategies… as well as partner with a service provider such as Quadpay to help ease the burden of paying for high-priced merchandise for their consumers. Collectively, these efforts will help retailers experience their most profitable back-to-school season yet.

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