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Analyzing Back-To-School Shopping Behaviors


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Back-to-school shopping spend is anticipated to surpass $825 million this year. Do you understand how parents and students use mobile and digital to research, plan and purchase education necessities?
Cision’s Caitlin Jamali and Michelle Vangel share findings from our study of social discussion among various shopper personas. Join us to learn how digital affects shopper behaviors and what drives them to make a purchase.

Find out how you can:

-Capture back-to-school shopping wallet share
-Understand purchase motivations based on shopper
-Better drive purchase decisions with relevant messaging and

Published in: Marketing
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Analyzing Back-To-School Shopping Behaviors

  1. 1. Back-To-School Social Insights Report: 2016
  2. 2. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.2 Today’s Participation 2 • During today’s webinar, attendees will be in listen- only mode. • If you are experiencing audio issues, please use the chat box to contact the webinar host. • Submit text questions: Q&A addressed at the end of today’s webinar.
  3. 3. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.3 Caitlin Jamali Senior Insights Analyst Michelle Vangel Vice President, Insights Solutions Introductions
  4. 4. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.4 About this Report Objectives For many, summer has just kicked off, but many parents are already prepping for their child’s next school year. At Cision, we analyzed social media discussion to determine who was shopping early, what was motivating these buyers and how brands and retailers can take advantage of these key social insights. Methodology We cast a wide net using our Visible Intelligence platform to collect content that mentioned back-to-school that appeared on social channels including Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs, and review sites. We analyzed conversations that occurred during the 2015 season (June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015) and the current season to date (June 1, 2016 to June 20, 2016). This report identifies types of shoppers, their attributes and shopping habits.
  5. 5. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.5 Where does social media fit into back-to-school shopping? Back-to-school shoppers are exposed to retailer marketing and advertising efforts across media channels. Social media is no exception. In fact, research by AdWeek indicated that 3-out-of-5 shoppers had previously purchased an item they saw through social media. Findings from the AdWeek article “What Brands Need to Know About Back-to-School Shopping Habits” by Melissa Hoffman.
  6. 6. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.6 When Do Consumers Talk About Back-to-School Shopping? Back-to-School Shopping Social Discussion Trend June 1 – October 31, 2015 Early Birds Back-to-School Shopping Rush Reviews & Late Shoppers Savers start shopping early June to make sure they don’t miss out on any deals Planners know what they need in early June, but don’t hit the stores until July/August Almost one-third of social buzz for back-to- school supplies occurred between Aug. 17 and Aug. 26 Back-to-school shopping buzz for clothing started at the end of July and extended through Labor Day weekend Some offered product reviews, expressed excitement about the new year or mentioned forgotten supplies Convenience Shoppers may buy online in early Summer, or wait till stores are well-stocked in July/August
  7. 7. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.7 Back-to-School Shopper Profiles: The Saver The Saver Among the shopping profiles, the Saver was the most prolific in terms of social discussion about back to school. Savers are focused on finding all the best deals and typically shop on a tight budget. This group collects coupons, starts shopping early and is not afraid to visit multiple stores to get the lowest price on products. The saver might even pick up items not on their list if a deal is tempting enough. Staples, Staples, Staples! !!! They have a penny sale with cheap school supplies every summer. There is one big sale item per week. I will go each week over the summer to get what ds needs and see what i can pick up for my classroom -, June 13, 2016 “ Savvy shoppers know that to get the BEST deals on school supplies, the smart strategy is to start shopping early. By buying a few things every week, you will save a significant amount over making one trip to purchase everything at once. -, July 1, 2015 “
  8. 8. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.8 Back-to-School Shopper Profiles: The Planner The Planner The planner has a set list of what is needed and knows what they are going to buy before they visit the store. Planners have back-to-school shopping on their radar starting in June, but may not start shopping until back-to-school promotions hit stores in July or August. Our school starts Aug 3. I've already gotten most of her clothes. She has backpacks & lunchboxes. I'll just need to get supplies once her school issues the list. -, June 6, 2016 “ Here in my other part of the world June is not just about weddings, it is also a time to go back-to- school. Yeah! You read it right folks. As a Mom, I always make it a point to prepare everything before the first day of school. -, June 1, 2016 “
  9. 9. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.9 Back-to-School Shopper Profiles: The Student The Student Students joined the back-to-school shopping discussion when preparing for college. Conversations focused on electronics and dorm supplies. Some mentioned buying school supplies for themselves for the first time. Experienced college students offered recommendations to new freshman on what they’ll really need or won’t need in college. . I wish someone would have told me that school supply shopping in college is very different from shopping for school supplies in high school. You’d assume that’s common sense, right? Well, going supply shopping in college with a high school mentality is more common than you would think. Luckily, those who are inexperienced can learn the ins and outs of proper school shopping for college and save time and money from well-seasoned students, such as myself and others who have been there and done that. -, July 10, 2016 “ I want to get myself a Fitbit before I go back-to-school in the fall . I really want one ASAP. Can't believe I haven't bought one yet . � - Twitter, June 10, 2016
  10. 10. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.10 Back-to-School Shopper Profiles: The Convenience Shopper The Convenience Shopper The convenience shopper is all about efficiency. This shopper typically has a lot going on and needs to complete back-to-school shopping as quickly and painlessly as possible. A convenience shopper wants to make one trip to one store to complete all back-to-school supply shopping needs, and is more likely to make purchases online. The convenience shopper will take advantage of offers to make life simpler, such as pre-ordering supply kits from through the school that will be automatically delivered to their child on the first day back. We get a list from the school. I used to go when the sales hit (late July/early August) otherwise we'd find ourselves out of luck on some things. The kids school now has this awesome thing where you can place an order and the kit with all the supplies is delivered to school for them. A portion of sales go to the PTSA. Cost is roughly the same as it is in the stores, at least for me since I'm not huge on going to 10 different stores to get a slightly lower price per item. It makes the back-to-school stuff soooooo much easier. -, June 7, 2015 “
  11. 11. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.11 Parents Divide Back-to-School Shopping Into Two Categories: Many parents approach school supply shopping separately than back-to-school clothing shopping, planning for each differently. School Supplies •Parents are likely to start buying as supplies early as June •Supplies create slightly more social discussion than clothes shopping •Many have a set list for supplies and a planned time- frame for purchases Clothing •Compared to school supplies, parents are more likely to wait until fall to buy new school clothing •Many set a clothing budget for the entire year, which they pull from for new school clothes •Some wait to buy clothes because of wear and tear, growth spurts and prolonged warm weather
  12. 12. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.12 What and Where Consumers Shopped: School Supplies Staples had a notable lead among merchants in discussion about back-to-school supply shopping. The Staple’s penny sale and weekly deals helped generate buzz throughout the shopping season. Top Merchants • Staples • Target • Amazon • Wal-Mart • Office Depot • Barnes & Noble • Walgreens Based to top terms for back-to-school supply shopping June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015 Prominent Terns
  13. 13. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.13 What and Where Consumers Shopped: Clothing Of retailers analyzed, Target owned the greatest share of back-to-school clothing buzz. Poster mentioned Target for stylish yet affordable clothing. Across shopping conversations, jeans were the most popularly mentioned product. Top Merchants • Target • Amazon • JC Penny • Macy’s • Walmart • Gap • Old Navy Prominent Terns Based to top terms for back-to-school clothing shopping June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015
  14. 14. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.14 How are Consumers Shopping for Back To School? Online Brick & Mortar Mobile Approximately 46% of Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to shop online Of those shopping at Brick & Mortar stores, 60% said they’d shop at discount stores. Shoppers are more likely to use their smart phone to locate a Brick & Mortar store than to complete a purchase. Findings from the National Retail Federation Back to School Annual Report.
  15. 15. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.15 Where are Consumers Talking About Back To School Shopping? Blogs are the most popular channel to discuss back-to-school shopping; conversations were dominated by mommy bloggers.
  16. 16. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.16 Who is Already Back-to-School Shopping in 2016?
  17. 17. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.17 What Retailers are Driving Conversation for the Current Season? Supply Shoppers Amazon Amazon started gaining early shopping buzz by partnering with mommy bloggers to promote back-to-school savings and coupons. Did you know that Amazon can be one of the best places to get your school supplies? Not only do they have competitive prices, you can get all your kids’ school supplies without having to go to the store and deal with all the crowds! Each week during Back to School Season we will be bringing you a post each week showing you some of the best Amazon BTS Deals we are seeing to save you both time and money! -, June 18, 2016 “
  18. 18. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.18 What Retailers are Driving Conversation for the Current Season? Supply Shoppers Staples Staples Weekly Steals campaign drew attention as a few suggested the weekly deal savings to those looking to save money. Staples is another great place to buy school supplies. Why, you might ask? THE SALES! They offer other amazing deals, so check in with their website during these summer months so you don’t miss out. -, June 13, 2016 “
  19. 19. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.19 What Retailers are Driving Conversation for the Current Season? Clothing Shoppers Target Buzz around Target increased as many shared a study that boasted clothes from Target would be a top buy this shopping season.
  20. 20. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.20 What Retailers are Driving Conversation for the Current Season? Clothing Shoppers Amazon Back-to-school clothes shopping buzz for Amazon was also driven by results from an industry report as bloggers shared findings; the report showed consumers favoring in-store shopping over popular e-commerce sites such as Amazon. A few shared deals. Despite ecommerce growth, shopping in physical stores reigns supreme. Most shoppers polled said they favor shopping in physical stores over both retailer websites and destinations like for clothing (64 percent) and school supplies (70 percent). -, June 2, 2016 “ Order this cute Crazy 8 Girls' Stripe French Terry Knit Dress through Amazon as low as just $5-7! That's an incredible price for a cute cotton everyday dress. It's available in sizes 4-12 right now! This would be great for preschool or back to school in the fall. -, June 10, 2016 “
  21. 21. Copyright © 2016 Cision. All rights reserved.21 Back-to-School Key Findings
  22. 22. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.22 One-in-Six Discuss Deals and Savings on Social Channels 2015: The Back-to-School Shopping Season At-A-Glance Back-to-School Shopping Social Buzz Peaked in August Consumers Talked Back-to-School Shopping on Blogs Moms Had the Most Active Voice on Social Channels One in Four Identified as a Mom The Early Bird Shoppers Start Back- to-School Shopping in June Student Voices were Heard in Back- to-School Shopping for College 43%Of Back-to-School Shopping Social Buzz Occurred on a Blog 48% Of Back-to-School Shopping Social Buzz Occurred in August Back to College Shopping Buzz Student voices ~20%Two Types of Shoppers Start Early SaversConvenience Shoppers Timeframe: June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015
  23. 23. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.23 Sweepstakes and Giveaways Retailers were able to boost back-to-school social discussion volume through sweepstakes and giveaways. Contests drove the most noteworthy spikes in buzz for retailers. Example: Wal-Mart generated notable buzz for the Rock The Savings contest. Students could share their supply list from the Wal-Mart website to enter for a chance for popular band The Vamps to come and play a free concert in their home town. The town with the most shares (votes) won. Special Sales and Deals Among back-to-school shopper personas, the Saver was most prolific on social channels. Deals and offers were well received and helped brands and merchants generate buzz for back-to-school shopping. . Example: Staples penny sales and weekly deals consistently brought shoppers into the stores. Seamless Pre-Orders Some valued the convenience and simplicity of stores that offered integrated services with their child’s school, making back-to-school supply shopping that much easier. Example: Staples earned praise by offering pre-order kits that would be automatically filled and delivered to the child’s classroom on the first day of school. What Can Merchants Learn From Last Year’s Season? Best Practices
  24. 24. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.24 Questions & Answers 24 Please enter your questions for the speaker in the chat box of your webinar console or tweet them to #CisionWebinar.
  25. 25. Copyright ©2015 Cision. All rights reserved.25 Thank You for Attending! About Cision: Cision is a leading global media intelligence company, serving the complete workflow of today’s communication professionals. Offering the industry’s most comprehensive PR, IR and social media software, rich analytics, content distribution, and influencer outreach, Cision enables clients to engage audiences, enhance campaigns and strengthen data-driven decision making. Cision also represents: 25 100,000+ CUSTOMERS @Cision OFFICES IN: Chicago (HQ), Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Finland and China