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Re-envisioning Back-to-School Marketing – Reaching Digital Eyeballs, Driving In-Store Sales

6 minute read

The back-to-school (B2S) season is one of the most critical periods for retailers to reach sales goals. And, with major shopping events like Amazon Prime Day and the continued growth of online channels, the way consumers are buying for B2S is changing. However, even with the growth of digital channels, we see that in-store still wins the most share for B2S, over 73%.What does this mean? Retailers that want to capture the most share need to have a lock-step approach that leverages digital channels and drives in-store sales.With a view into +$1.5 trillion in spend across credit, debit, ACH, and bill pay, Cardlytics recently released The 2018 Back-to-School Spend Report. The report explores the spend trends that marketers need to know to capture the most share this season.B2S Spend is GrowingIn 2017, B2S spend grew nearly 3% year-over-year. This was driven by an increase in spend per purchase, with spend per purchase growing nearly 1% year-over-year. Interestingly, we see that the number of purchases decreased, indicating that consumers are making fewer, yet more impactful shopping trips.Online-Only Capturing Bigger PurchasesThe increase in spend per purchase was most evident in online-only channels. In 2017, online-only spend per purchase grew by 7.2%.Brick & Mortar.coms (B&M.coms) Catching on to Prime Day Amazon Prime Day continues to pull spend forward. However, we see that B&M.coms are catching on to this earlier spend. While in 2016, B&M.coms decreased in share, they stayed flat in 2017.Prime Day Shoppers More ValuableWe see that customers who shopped during the week of Amazon Prime Day spend more in every channel during the B2S season than customers who did not shop during the week of Prime Day. Additionally, customers who shop at any online channel the week of Prime Day spend more online the week following Prime Day.With digital channels changing how consumers shop, but in-store continuing to dominate channel share, retailers need to execute marketing campaigns that reach consumers online and drive in-store spend.

  • Cardlytics Direct allows retailers to reach consumers with relevant ads directly within their online and mobile banking. These ads also encourage in-store spend as the rewards are linked to the consumer’s bank card, so they can easily save while shopping in-store.
  • Retailers should consider B2S ship-to-store deals. Often, once the consumer is in the store to pick up their online order, they do additional shopping.
  • During the first week of school re-opening, retailers should consider offering additional deals, which allow parents to pick up last-minute items.

For more back-to-school spend trends, download The 2018 Back-to-School Spend Report.

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