The hottest July in recent years was also remarkable for its store sales. Summer shoppers spent more than expected, a sign that could mean a strong back-to-school shopping season. In an article on Businessweek.com, a report revealed that clothing sales drove purchasing in July. Retail consumer sales account for a huge percentage of the national economy. If retail goes up, everything improves.
After years of holding back, parents are ready to go shopping. A survey cited in the Portland Press Herald predicts back-to-school spending will increase this year. Parents are expected to spend $688.62 in back-to-school shopping, a forecast up from last year’s average, $603.63. To grab the attention of budget-minded consumers, retailers are getting creative with incentives and promotions.
Tis the season for school bells and cash registers to be ringing. Consumers will hit the shops in force during the back-to-school season, a National Retail Federation survey found. The survey asked 8,509 consumers about their back-to-school shopping plans. One of the things retailers can expect: people are shopping earlier, and online shoppers will spend the most of all consumers.
In the digital age, even back-to-school shopping has taken a leap forward. Consumer electronics — such as laptops, smartphones and tablet computers — are now on 40 percent of back-to-school shopping lists, according to a recent survey cited on the Press-Enterprise newspaper’s website. The survey shows why retailers must tailor marketing campaigns to the constantly connected consumer.
Want to get your products close to the people? Drive-up service — using a “retail truck” to bring your product to the customer rather than having them come to you — is a new trend in retail. A recent article on The Consumerist’s website highlighted this “mobile” trend. This up-and-coming trend is being driven by the high cost of real estate.
The fashion industry is known for breaking the mold. Now it’s doing that by employing more business school graduates, according to an article on U.S. News & World Report’s website. More and more people with graduate degrees are being recruited by major retailers. And as social media and mobile adds to the mix, it will be even more important to have well-trained people overseeing the omnichannel.
In social media, one size does not fit all. Recent research shows that retailers need to tailor their message on the various social network sites depending on consumers’ preferences and behavior, according to an article on the Lipstick Economy blog. Retailers also must invest in the proper analytics so they can see what people are responding to and buying.
Both ends of the shopping spectrum — discounters and luxury stores — saw better than expected sales results in June. June sales for luxury chains clocked in at 6 percent growth while discount chains reported 7 percent growth, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Back-to-school shopping will be the next driver for consumer spending, according to the article.
Pinterest, a social and photo-sharing site, converts more browsers into buyers than Facebook, according to a recent survey cited in UK newspaper The Guardian. The key to success is accurately targeting your market. Retailers can live up to their Pinterest potential by pinning boards with a personal touch, using clear images and getting involved in the Pinterest community.
As retail evolves, even customers are in the middle of a makeover. The CEO of a major beverage company wrote a column on Business Insider’s website that highlighted the top three consumer trends retailers should pay attention to: the aging population, sustainability and technology. A company’s success depends on how its leadership adapts to and executes global, national and local consumer trends.
Retail is starting to recruit more college graduates. A national retailer recently announced that it hired more than 1,000 students for positions in its full-time executive development program and for summer internships, according to an article on the Business Courier’s website. This is a sign that retailers are looking for more highly-educated employees that they can groom into future executives.
Randy Misener, Editor-at-Large
Randy Misener is the Industry Executive responsible for Enterprise Retail Management solutions at Avanade. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has approximately 15,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.