Maximizing Sales from the Back-to-School Shopper

Maximizing Sales from the Back-to-School Shopper

June 14, 2017
Annette Maggi
Retail Industry Insights

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Many retail RDs plan events and services for the back-to-school shopper, but in RDBA’s first Samplefest®, we provided consumer insights and innovative strategies for capitalizing on this key retail season. Consider these top insights from our Samplefest® report:

  • Timing is everything.  For 22% of shoppers, back-to-school shopping starts two months prior to the start of classes and for 51%, three to four weeks prior (National Retail Federation, 2016).  In December or early January, there is a second BTS season as families prepare for the second semester or half of the school year.
    • Retail RD Takeaway:  Know the local school schedules, and plan programming and promotions at least two months prior to the start of the school year.  Plan for some quick wins with second semester planning.  Remind families to stock up on healthy snacks and provide suggestions for healthful care packages for college students.
  • While online shopping continues to increase, 85% of parents engaged in back-to-school shopping plan to do so in-store (Rakuten Marketing Digital Insights, 2016).
    • Retail RD Takeaway:  Partner internally to tie in-store food experiences, endcaps of healthy snacks, and tip sheets for packing more nutritious school lunches to store displays for back-to-school.  
  • According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, college consumers spent $5.8 billion on food items in 2016.  
    • Retail RD Takeaway: If you have a college or university in your community, offering programs or services for this audience can be an effective way to bring new shoppers into your retailer.  Consider classes for cooking on a budget or cooking for one, signage on meal assembly, and bunkers of quick and easy breakfasts.
  • Price matters during this retail season.  If fact, research suggests competitive pricing is five times more important than brand names, shopping convenience or shopping channel (Rakuten Marketing Digital Insights, 2016).  Additionally, 48% of parents are influenced by coupons and 39% take advantage of in-store promotions (National Retail Federation, 2016).
    • Retail RD Takeaway:  Meet with merchant partners now to understand what promotions your retailer will run in August and tie your programs to these products.

For innovative and creative ideas and new promotions to capitalize on the back-to-school season including ideas from program sponsors House Foods, Naked®, Quaker®, Town House®, and StarKist®, review the entire Samplefest® document (attach link).