back to school imgWith the back-to-school season in full swing, we wanted to survey consumers to see how they planned to shop and learn what was influencing their purchase decisions during this important retail time of year. Our Back to School Shopper Behavior Survey, which we created with the e-tailing group, tells an interesting story of what the back-to-school shopping trip looks like and what’s driving decisions.

When They Plan to Shop

In this survey, shoppers fall into one of two categories either they try to get ahead of the game and shop as soon as they can (37%) or they prefer to shop over time based on promotions (26%).

Online vs. In-store Shopping

Surprisingly, it’s not just the parents that will do the shopping – 70 percent say their students will be shopping alongside them in-store, whereas more than a third will be shopping together with their students online. Even with the channel discrepancy, the behavior of shopping together for school items is an interesting result of the survey.

What Get’s Shoppers Into Stores?

The influence of Amazon and paper catalogs on in-store shoppers was to us, surprising. We remember just a year or two ago when “show rooming” felt like a death sentence for retail. Now, Amazon is helping to drive shoppers into stores with 36 of respondents saying that they “always/frequently” influenced by Amazon when making an in-store purchase. Interestingly, traditional mediums like printed catalogs – “always or frequently” influenced 40% of shoppers.

What It All Means

It’s a good news, bad news situation. While retailer have a ton of levers to pull to gain back to school traction, more than ever retailers will need to gear up in all areas, as consumers use multiple channels to research and shop for back to school supplies. We hope you find our findings helpful in your own back to school efforts.

For the full survey report.

For the press release.

For the infographic.