Aside from the holidays, back-to-school is the busiest shopping season in the U.S. in a given year. In fact, some view it as a trend line for how consumers will behave in the period between the end of summer and the beginning of the holidays.
For generations, back-to-school shopping was a seminal parent-child experience immortalized in movies and sitcoms. Basic setup: child and parent arrive at big box store. Child wants off-task stuff, i.e. fun backpack. Parent trying desperately to stick to school-provided list. Hilarity ensues!
Well, like most experiences -- from shopping to Starbucks and back again -- back-to-school shopping is going more and more mobile.
62% of millennials headed back to school this fall plan to shop with a smartphone, with 80% planning to shop online generally.
18% of 18-24 year-old back-to-school shoppers will use Apple Pay this year to make a purchase, with about 10% using Android Pay.
85% of YouTube video views about back-to-school ideas, such as Target’s campaign last year with “official college stylists” showing how to decorate dorm rooms, are viewed on mobile. Between mid-July and late-August, the viewing times for those videos jump 70% relative to other parts of the year.
The whole deal is beginning earlier and earlier: according to Google’s own 2016 research, July 11th week was when back-to-school mobile searches started rising drastically. That’s a full week earlier than 2015.
Here’s the rub, though: many of these stats are about the back-to-schoolers themselves, but oftentimes kids don’t have their own money, summer jobs be darned. So are parents in on this mobile revolution? Yes. According to Rubicon Project, 60% of them plan to use mobile for back-to-school shopping this year. 30% plan to do a quarter or more of their shopping on mobile.
Clearly, marketers who don't want to be left behind need to take advantage of the ever-growing number of mobile shopping. Like J.C. Penney; best-known as a brick and mortar brand, this year they released a campaign around “Back To School Shopping Made Easier.” The crux of it, including a video set to “Here Comes The Hotstepper,” is all about driving mobile app installs. When a user installs the J.C. Penney app, they get a $10 back-to-school credit.
J.C. Penney takes advantage of back-to-school shopping to reach more mobile shoppers, and boost app installs.
That was the first time in its history J.C. Penney crafted a TV spot pushing people to mobile, but it was time: according to their own data, their app users visit stores 3x more and purchase 3.5x more than non-app users.
Times are changin’.
It all means several things, starting with “You should have one.” You’ll want to consider:
Image Cozi helps families stay on top of busy schedules and long to-do lists.
You’ve all seen Broad City, right? Hannibal Burress’ character always says “KWP,” or “Keys Wallet Phone.” Those are the three things you never leave home without. Well, the reality since that joke sequence was first dropped is this: for many people, KWP is one device now, that being your smartphone. Many long-standing in-person, brick-and-mortar traditions -- like back-to-school shopping or “braving the holiday crowds” -- were logically going to move over to mobile and digital. Now it’s about how companies capture those shoppers in those periods of huge potential revenue.
Hopefully this gave you a blueprint for back-to-school shopping on the mobile side, but we’d love to know: What other tactics have you seen from brands that seem to be working well?
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