Back to school blues for Amazon as Brits back traditional retailers
Amazon is yet to conquer the ‘back to school’ market, according to a survey of 2,000 customers by YouGov, IMRG and Ingenico. This found that most people prefer traditional retailers, perhaps for nostalgic or quality reasons.
Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, comments: “As back to school has a clear cut-off date – when children often need new shoes to replace the ones they haven’t tried on for six weeks – it may be that offering next-day Click and Collect could prove to be a key differentiator for retailers; we see something similar in the week leading up to Christmas Day, where those offering it generally generate far higher sales growth than those who don’t.”
45% of respondents intending to purchase supplies for the new academic year head to High Street stores or online retailers for their back to school shopping while just 38% shop at online marketplaces.
“That presents a huge opportunity for merchants large and small,” says Marc Birkner, Managing Director of Small & Medium Businesses, Ingenico Group. “Online marketplaces have yet to put their stamp on back to school, giving retailers a chance to maximise the benefits of their own brand heritage. Nurturing a reputation for quality and robustness will draw in conscientious parents and establish relationships that may well develop into brand loyalty.”
Mulcahy adds: “Stores have an important role to play in back to school, as kids need to get their feet measured and try on clothes – but this ‘limitation’ of online never seems to stop people from buying clothes and shoes remotely and returning those items that don’t fit. Indeed, year-to-date in 2018 footwear has been one of the strongest-growing online sectors we are tracking.”
Young adults, many of which will soon be going to university, should also be a key focus for online retailers. Tech is the biggest cost for 22% of 18-24 year olds, a figure nearly three times as high as the 35+ category (8%). However, students preparing to move away from home also have a very broad range of product requirements including everything from kettles to stationary to duvets. Targeting this demographic with both mid-summer and last-minute campaigns is likely to yield impressive results each summer.