5 Ways Retailers Can Cash In on the Back-to-School Season
As the back-to-school shopping season winds down, retailers still have the opportunity to engage consumers by helping them make smart, informed and value-driven choices. Today’s shoppers are interested in authenticity, community, interpersonal connections and strong relationships with brands. Here are five tips that will set retailers on the right path:
1. Get closer. Consumers want to know that brands value them as individuals, just as brands want their customers to feel that special bond that encourages them to actively support their brand, products and services. Offer customers an outlet to discuss their shopping experiences — both good and bad. Listen to what they have to say to make improvements. Ask them what they want from their back-to-school shopping experience. The answers may provide useful insights into better products and/or enhanced services.
2. Go green. Even though the recession has resulted in consumers paying closer attention to price and value, sustainability is still an important issue on their minds. Expect more back-to-shoppers to invest in eco-friendly products, from clothing to water bottles to school supplies. Promote green efforts in-store by encouraging the use of reusable bags, and online by using more sustainable shipping and packaging methods.
3. Support local. People are embracing their local communities by rediscovering the culture of their hometowns through activities like farmer’s markets, art shows and festivals. Consumers take pride in their local purchases; this is a main reason why more brands are now emphasizing provenance. Companies, both big and small, have an opportunity to reach consumers by supporting local businesses or donating a portion of their customers’ hard-earned dollars to improving the community. Target, for instance, gives back to local schools.
4. Add value. Today's consumers expect more from brands than ever, so companies that can cross the line from customer satisfaction to customer elation have an edge. Retailers like Best Buy and Apple have tech support groups on-site to help students with their perplexing computer problems. Zappos.com provides free delivery on all purchases and returns, and uses social media to stay connected with its customers.