Retail communicators are employing a more educated approach to back-to-school campaigns this year. New research from Kelton Global, commissioned by digital savings destination RetailMeNot, finds that 40 percent of retail marketers began their promotions as early as May, and 85 percent plan to invest more in their back-to-school marketing efforts this year compared to 2016—largely by investing in mobile and social media.
RetailMeNot’s new report, 2017 Retailer and Consumer Back-to-School Insights Guide, reveals retailers plan to be more promotional to give consumers the deals they want.
- 89 percent of retailers will increase their marketing spend on mobile
- 88 percent of retailers will increase their marketing spend on social media
- 70 percent of retailers will issue mobile offers through a partner platform
Despite this year’s more sophisticated approach, the study shows that retails still have a lot to learn. More than ever, shoppers indicate they want a seamless, integrated shopping experience—but nearly 1 in 10 retailers indicated they do not have an omnichannel promotional plan for this season.
“Discounts and deals are incredibly important this time of year to both retailers and shoppers. Parents want to maximize their spending power and are increasingly turning to mobile as part of their shopping journey,” said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer at RetailMeNot, in a news release. “For retail marketers, the opportunity to capitalize on omnichannel offers is more important than ever to reach consumers online, on mobile and in store. Consumers are seeking discounts, and it’s imperative that retailers and brands meet them where they are with compelling content.”
RetailMeNot’s cheat sheet
The firm’s data show consumers are likely to do the bulk of their spending in August, predicting the top shopping day will be August 5. While other top shopping days will occur in the first two weeks of August, the number two biggest back-to-school shopping day is predicted to be on Labor Day, September 4.
The back-to-school shopping time frame is the longest shopping season in the U.S., lasting nearly three months. The highest level of consumer engagement with back-to-school content on RetailMeNot happens between July 9 and September 9.
The widespread use of mobile and social to shop around means more opportunity for retailers to get in front of deal-hungry consumers before they pull out their wallets.
Consumer report card
With 63 percent of parents reporting they will spend more than $100 per person on back-to-school shopping, and 33 percent spending more than $250, it’s no wonder that 75 percent say money is a stressor during this shopping season. Furthermore, 82 percent of parents are looking for deals.
- 36 percent of parents agree they look for more savings during back-to-school than any other time of the year
- Nearly half of shoppers (49 percent) say price is the biggest determining factor in what they buy
- 70 percent of RetailMeNot users are anticipated to look for deals on their mobile device
The shopping journey isn’t limited to just one channel this season. More than half of shoppers (54 percent) surveyed do the majority of their back-to-school shopping in a physical retail location, and nearly 1 in 3 (28 percent) always search for items online before going in store.
“As we get closer to the start of school, shoppers will move from consideration to purchasing, and the retailers who have seamless experiences will benefit the most,” said Tarleton.
A Google Consumer Survey was conducted between June 6 and June 12, 2017, in which 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over were surveyed regarding their back-to-school spending and deal-seeking goals. A RetailMeNot, Inc. retailer survey was conducted by Kelton Global between May 11 and May 16, 2017, among 201 marketing decision-makers who work at organizations that sell products both online and in physical retail locations, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over.