5 Reasons Your Back-to-School Retail Execution Must Be Flawless

As the 2012 – 2013 school year wraps up, most people are thinking of summer plans, beach days, and long-awaited vacations. But the end of the year signals an important opportunity for retailers and consumer goods companies to plan their back-to-school specials.

Parents spent $83 billion dollars on back-to-school items last year, ranging from backpacks and notebooks to housewares and other dorm gear for college students. With a shopping period that runs from July to September, it’s key to make the most of this important retail opportunity. Here are five reasons why it’s crucial that your shelves stay stocked, creative displays look their best, and customer service teams get it right every time.

1.) It’s lucrative: If your biggest sales are from the Christmas holidays, you’re not alone. But back-to-school is the second biggest time of year for retail, second only to the winter holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spend more than more than Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day combined. Making the most of this opportunity requires being at the top of your game.

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2.) There are incentives: Many states now offer an annual tax-free weekend, an event that saves buyers between 5% and 8%. These events often coincide with the period around Labor Day, which is a hot time for back-to-school shopping. Here’s a partial list of tax free weekends on the schedule for 2013. Buyers head out to stock up on a variety of supplies, and often these weekends are hectic for stores. Great retail support ensures that any problems are quickly addressed and that you don’t lose sales.

3.) Discount stores are getting a big share of the business: An estimated 67% of customers expect to head to to discount stores.Two key factors are at play: the desire for multiple product options and strong price sensitivity. A stunning 85% of consumers surveyed are adjusting their spending in response to the economy. Getting your pricing right is key, from making sure that your items are properly priced on the shelves to the fact that discounts and promotions are running smoothly.

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4.) The opportunity to reach young consumers: Younger consumers are a hot demographic, and back-to-school promotions are a great time to reach them. Three quarters of parents surveyed said that their children influence back-to-school shopping decisions. Tweens and teens spend anywhere between an average of $25 and $36 dollars of their own money in connection with this time of year. Are your promotions and deals focused on helping you capture their attention?

5.) Tight turnarounds: 75% of people shop in the month before school starts, making this period both profitable and critical to your retail turnaround. Another 47.8% do some shopping at least one month before the start of the school year. The result is a tight turnaround for retail execution from late July to late August, along with the importance of ensuring a high quality shopping experience on an ongoing basis throughout the summer.

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With so much at stake this summer, have you planned out your retail execution strategy? Gigwalk’s mobile workforce can conduct pricing audits, stock checks, mystery shopping, market research, and more. Request a demo today and we’ll show you how we can help you have your most successful back-to-school season yet.

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