Excitement and happiness are present for many of today’s back-to-college shoppers, but they also report feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, especially as moving day gets closer. Combined with the fact that only 37 percent of parents/guardians of college students said they give their student a budget to limit the amount they spend on back-to-school shopping, there is clearly opportunity among these consumers. Manufacturers and retailers with on and off-campus-ready products have barely scratched the surface of their potential to help reduce some of the uncertainty among future college students, and their parents, while also growing their own sales and brand loyalty.
Employ Technology: Put technology to work and link the needs and guidelines for each college to in-store and online promotional efforts. Make your brand a stress-free solution to the consumer’s back-to-college research and planning for both on and off-campus living.
Provide Visual Checklists: Real-life store displays and online images depicting various coordinated college-living scenarios can act as a visual checklist for shoppers, and take some of the guesswork out of the process.
Utilize Events & Incentives: Bring college students and their parents together while providing a fun and productive experience. Educational and promotional in-store events can help back-to-college consumers understand what their budget should look like, and allow them to stretch their dollar a little further.
Eliminate Logistics Concerns: A retailer who can deliver directly to college students’ rooms, and do so as they arrive on campus, will get a top grade from back-to-college shoppers. Eliminate the worry of how to transport new dorm décor from home, or the need to recruit friends to move a compact refrigerator from the car or an on-campus drop off point, and get it all to their dorm room.
Word of mouth is one of the primary methods for students to prepare for college. As back-to-college shoppers talk to their friends, you want to be the resource they promote in their social circles. Retailers and manufactures can help retain more of the excitement and happiness of this major life moment and doing so will help them capture this consumer base as they mature into future life stages. It’s about connecting with the consumer, and connecting with their back-to-college needs.
Source: The NPD Group / LAB Series: 2017 Back-to-School Report