Score an A+ This Back-to-School Season With Last-Minute Shoppers
The start of a new school year means that back-to-school (BTS) shopping is in full swing, and parents and their children are most likely scrambling to check off the last few items on their lists — or seeking out additional materials their teachers have requested to complete their school work. In addition, college students moving into their new dorm rooms may be realizing they forgot a few essential items necessary to make their new housing feel like home for the next year.
With the rush of consumers looking to get the final items on their list as soon as possible, retailers have a last chance to boost sales and win customers over e-commerce giants such as Amazon.com. In fact, according to findings from Kibo’s recent Consumer Trends Report, which surveyed over 3,000 U.S. consumers, shoppers increasingly favored optimized interactive content and multiple fulfillment options as top factors when making purchasing decisions. Furthermore, according to the Consumer Trends report, as retailers look to win consumers during the final days of BTS shopping, there are a few factors they should consider if they want to score an A+ with their customers.
BOPIS as a Necessary Fulfillment Option
According to the Kibo report, 67 percent of respondents have used buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) in the past six months. Additionally, the number of participants who claimed that the variety and speed of fulfillment options were deciding factors grew by 130 percent and 300 percent, respectively, within the past year. In terms of last-minute BTS shoppers who order too late for home delivery, the increasingly popular BOPIS method of order fulfillment is bridging the gap between online and offline. With apparel retailers like Old Navy advertising BOPIS to accommodate customers looking to complete their shopping during this crunch-time period, retailers across the board should make it easy for last-minute shoppers to get everything they need for the new school year.
Enriched Digital Content
In addition to offering customers a BOPIS option, retailers can also leverage the surge in sales during BTS with high-quality shopping experiences and deep online content. According to the report, over 50 percent of survey respondents say they expect extensive content such as product images, videos, reviews, detailed specifications, comparison guides and other information on branded manufacturers’ websites. Furthermore, over 50 percent of survey participants said they expect a manufacturer’s site to have items in stock, while 45 percent believe they’ll find a greater variety of products available, and 40 percent believe manufacturers will have more items than retailers.
Empowered Store Associates
Once customers are in a physical store, it's likely that they will remember additional, last-minute items they need to round out their BTS shopping. In these instances, empowered store associates can do a lot to increase in-store sales. For example, according to the report, shoppers’ willingness to engage store associates for assistance increased to 57 percent, an 18.75 percent increase from 2017. In addition, more than two-thirds of respondents said they expected those associates to have access to their order histories.
As retailers look to acquire last-minute BTS customers, remembering that consumers favor convenient fulfillment options as well as digital and physical shopping experiences that give them extensive information will give them top visibility with consumers.
Michelle Fischer is the chief marketing officer of Kibo, an omnichannel commerce platform.
As chief marketing officer of Kibo, Michelle Fischer is responsible for the strategic direction and execution of the brand’s global marketing initiatives. Kibo is a leading provider of cloud-based ecommerce and order management solutions for retailers and branded manufacturers. Ms. Fischer joined Kibo in May 2018 from fellow Vista Equity Partners portfolio company, Aptean, where she was the General Manager of the CRM & Vertical Solutions business divisions. Prior to her time at Aptean, she spent time at technology companies Lanyon, NCR and Sabre Airline Solutions, where she held numerous leadership roles around the software development lifecycle including product management, strategy, marketing and professional services.
Ms. Fischer holds a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. She lives in Dallas with her husband and two children.