Sentiment Data Gave Retailers an Inside Edge for Back-to-School Timing and Promotions
Every year retailers try to optimize back-to-school inventory and promotions so that parents and stores alike have a positive shopping experience. With so many store choices, retailers really need to be on top of their game at this time of year.
One important task for retailers is to balance availability and promotion of stock without sacrificing service. Without access to data from previous years or insight into shopper sentiment, however, it's challenging to make adjustments that can drive improvements for future years. Sales data can tell part of the story, but customer sentiment helps fill in the "softer" metrics that numbers alone just can't provide.
We all know the importance of data for improving store performance, but retailers often don't have the time or tools to collect, analyze and apply findings. Luckily, SAP's annual back-to-school social sentiment research gave retailers an inside edge when it came to planning and executing based on how shoppers "feel" about decisions retailers make during important times of the year.
This year, SAP analyzed social media insights from over 3 million consumer conversations online. The findings give retailers real information that can be applied now and during the 2015 back-to-school season.
Don't Rush Families Back to School
Families want to enjoy the summer and don't want to be subjected to back-to-school promotions too early. In fact, this year's social sentiment findings reported that overall consumer sentiment toward back-to-school advertisements didn't become positive until the end of July. Before that time, sentiment hangs lower than negative 20 percent. Granted last year was worse: In 2013, social sentiment toward commercials stood at negative 46 percent for the same timeframe.
The most recent National Retail Federation (NRF) back-to-school survey also confirmed that back-to-school shoppers tend to delay. Its annual survey found that, as of Aug. 12, 2014, fewer families were taking advantage of retailers’ special school savings opportunities. Specifically, nearly one-quarter (23.6 percent) had not started shopping yet, up from 20.9 percent last year.