As the pandemic recedes and prices continue to climb, parents may be nervous about the upcoming back-to-school spending season.
Last year, families spent an estimated $32.5 billion on books, clothing and other supplies as children returned to classroom learning, according to Deloitte market consultants. That’s over $600 per student. This year, with inflation a concern, “price and value are the primary drivers of buying decisions,” according to analysts at mobile marketing firm InMobi.
Major retailers are preparing accordingly. By using key tools in their arsenals, companies are ready to engage in competition for consumer money. Here’s how they’re approaching this shopping season:
How Walmart and Old Navy are tackling back-to-school
At Walmart, “We’ve worked hard to deliver sought-after back-to-school products at the everyday low prices (consumers) expect,” says Ana Arguello, vice president of stationery.
Michelle Wlazlo, director of merchandising at JCPenney, says the company is focused on ensuring consumers get more for their money.
“We know value is more important than ever this year,” she said. “This season we will have back-to-school offers and door-to-door sales every week… (from) early July to late August.”
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With a broad portfolio of products and brands, “we have greater flexibility in making pricing decisions and we continuously monitor costs to ensure our prices are competitive,” says Wlazlo. “We are committed to offering clothing, home products and basics at reasonable prices, delivering value to our customers.”
Old Navy is also focused on price control. “This year we announced our new Price ON-Lock – a commitment to lock in prices on the brand’s children’s fashion essentials, despite inflationary market pressures,” said the company’s chief merchandising director. , Andres Dorronsoro.
“We know our customers are looking for value over quality and (trendy) styles. This back-to-school season, we are excited to provide fashionable, durable and affordable pieces for families,” said Dorronsoro.
Online shopping for back to school
Under increasing pressure from the online giant Amazon, major retailers are placing particular emphasis on web strategies this year.
“As we’ve seen over the past few quarters with the growth of our e-commerce, we anticipate our customers will continue to do more of their back-to-school shopping online,” Arguello says. Walmart is therefore aligning its online and in-store strategies, so that all channels reflect the best deals “no matter how or where our customers want to shop”.
Old Navy will leverage features on its website to help provide greater convenience. “Our online shopping experience offers both breadth and curation,” says Dorronsoro. “We allowed parents to shop by size, trend and look, while accessing the widest selection of products.”
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Similarly, JCPenney is turning to the web to meet consumer demands for a simplified shopping experience.
“We make it easy to shop for basics while providing inspiration with trending products,” says Wlazlo. “We’re also updating the denim experience with our denim fitting tool, making shopping easier and building confidence when buying jeans online.”
At the same time, the retailer is looking to cross-pollinate, providing consumers with ways to combine their online and in-person purchases. “We bring the online and in-store experiences together to make it even more convenient for the customer,” says Wlazlo. “Buy online, pick up in store and ship to store options mean you can place your order and pick up items at a location that’s convenient for you.”
Walmart is taking a similar approach, making more products available for pickup and delivery, Arguello says.
With retailers competing on price and selection while bridging online and in-store experiences, parents will likely have a wide range of options when filling these backpacks for the upcoming school year. .