Back-to-school in review—shoppers still prefer to purchase in-store

by | Aug 31, 2018 | Public Relations

The back-to-school shopping season has largely wrapped up, and although we’re still waiting for a spending breakdown, there’s one thing we definitely know—even though online shopping in general has gotten most of the attention in recent years, back-to-school shopping remains mostly in-store.

The majority (56 percent) of respondents to a new survey from personalization firm Monetate said they shopped at brick-and-mortar stores vs. 20 percent online, and only 7 percent on mobile apps for their children.

Back-to-school in review—shoppers still prefer to purchase in-store

The findings, which showcased buyer preferences for back-to-school shopping, indicate that not only do consumers want personalized offers that leverage existing data on past purchases and key demographics to give them a better shopping experience, but also those who want such personalization have a propensity to spend more. Traditional offers like free shipping and discounts are effective in attracting customers, but impact overall profitability by lowering profit margins for retailers and do little to cement loyalty outside of the back-to-school shopping experiences.

According to the survey, the majority of shoppers (48 percent) purchased supplies in August. However, 38 percent shopped in July, 12 percent in June and 2 percent will shop in September. Only 18 percent of respondents had completed their shopping as of July.

Back-to-school in review—shoppers still prefer to purchase in-store

Traditional promotions like incentives and discounts do drive consumers to stores, but adding in personalization is likely to increase sales and is in fact, welcomed by consumers. The study showed that 60 percent of respondents would welcome personalization offers and those shopping for middle school children were most receptive to personalized offers. Additionally, 78 percent of respondents said they were open to receiving product recommendations from retailers. Ultimately, the survey results showed that personalization drives greater sales and higher overall profitability, especially as household income levels increase.

“Advanced personalization technology drives better engagement and increases sales for the most trusted brands,” said Brian O’Neill, chief technology officer at Monetate, in a news release. “It’s clear that consumers welcome personalization for their back-to-school shopping and those retailers that embrace personalization will be the big winners—not just for back-to-school sales, but by building sustainable, loyal customer relationships.”

Download the full study here.

The study, conducted with Researchscape International, surveyed U.S. consumers with one or more children under the age of 23 in July 2018. Of the 536 respondents, 85 percent represent the primary party responsible for back-to-school shopping.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter