Back-to-School Shopping in the Age of Mobile Apps

By Ted Bauer

Aside from the holidays, back-to-school is the busiest shopping season in the U.S. in a given year. In fact, some view it as a trend line for how consumers will behave in the period between the end of summer and the beginning of the holidays.

For generations, back-to-school shopping was a seminal parent-child experience immortalized in movies and sitcoms. Basic setup: child and parent arrive at big box store. Child wants off-task stuff, i.e. fun backpack. Parent trying desperately to stick to school-provided list. Hilarity ensues!

Well, like most experiences — from shopping to Starbucks and back again — back-to-school shopping is going more and more mobile.

The stats on mobile back-to-school shopping

62% of millennials headed back to school this fall plan to shop with a smartphone, with 80% planning to shop online generally.

18% of 18-24 year-old back-to-school shoppers will use Apple Pay this year to make a purchase, with about 10% using Android Pay.

85% of YouTube video views about back-to-school ideas, such as Target’s campaign last year with “official college stylists” showing how to decorate dorm rooms, are viewed on mobile. Between mid-July and late-August, the viewing times for those videos jump 70% relative to other parts of the year.

The whole deal is beginning earlier and earlier: according to Google’s own 2016 research, July 11th week was when back-to-school mobile searches started rising drastically. That’s a full week earlier than 2015.

Here’s the rub, though: many of these stats are about the back-to-schoolers themselves, but oftentimes kids don’t have their own money, summer jobs be darned. So are parents in on this mobile revolution? Yes. According to Rubicon Project, 60% of them plan to use mobile for back-to-school shopping this year. 30% plan to do a quarter or more of their shopping on mobile.

J.C. Penney uses back-to-school to entice mobile shoppers

Clearly, marketers who don’t want to be left behind need to take advantage of the ever-growing number of mobile shopping. Like J.C. Penney; best-known as a brick and mortar brand, this year they released a campaign around “Back To School Shopping Made Easier.” The crux of it, including a video set to “Here Comes The Hotstepper,” is all about driving mobile app installs. When a user installs the J.C. Penney app, they get a $10 back-to-school credit.

J.C. Penney takes advantage of back-to-school shopping to reach more mobile shoppers, and boost app installs.

That was the first time in its history J.C. Penney crafted a TV spot pushing people to mobile, but it was time: according to their own data, their app users visit stores 3x more and purchase 3.5x more than non-app users.

Times are changin’.

What does this mean for mobile back-to-school strategy?

It all means several things, starting with “You should have one.” You’ll want to consider:

  • Ease of experience. Generationally, back-to-school shopping is focused on Gen X (parents), millennials (students and possibly parents of young students by now), and Gen Z (students). All three of those generations have enough life experience with mobile that their expectations have a certain bar. Go to the full article.

    Source:: Business 2 Community

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