Back to School in the New Normal

It’s Back to School time. We think.

The hope that by now we’d be taking the lead on the old scoreboard vs COVID-19 is now, unfortunately, giving way to the reality that we’re locked in a dragged-out battle of will.  So, as we continue to keep on keeping on day to day with the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, we now face the realities of an unforeseen back-to-school season. The looming fall brings with it unprecedented hesitation as parents face what feels like daily school district updates trying to ensure the safest conditions for students upon returning to school in person. For those who would prefer to remain at home until a vaccine is introduced, schools are working to provide remote learning options that don’t impede parents’ ability to also work from home. Choices are hard, and options are in constant flux.

Despite the unpredictability and confusion surrounding kids heading back to school and what their academics will actually look like, back-to-school shopping is still going to happen. Early reports estimate consumers will spend $529 this season, which is similar to last year. That said, it’s fair to say what parents are spending those back to school bucks on will be different. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Back to School Survey, 40% of parents are planning to spend less on traditional back-to-school supplies while investing more in digital resources like computers, electronic gadgets and digital subscriptions. Hygiene products and furniture for homeschooling are expected to see a 63% increase, as it becomes a new back-to-school category in response to COVID-19.

In response to such collective uncertainty, it’s imperative that retail brands carefully incorporate both historic and real-time data as a foundation for their marketing strategies. Being laser-focused on your highest value customer is critical in understanding how the impacts of COVID-19 are likely to influence parent’s back-to-school shopping choices. Despite the pandemic, by evaluating historic data and real-time data, you can identify the variances in your customer’s path to purchase, ultimately allowing you to target your highest value customer at the right place at the right time with the right message.

Unbound’s nimble team of strategic thinkers are able to align with your marketing team to develop strategies specifically built for the unknowns we are all facing.  By starting with predictive modeling and forecasting scenarios for your highest value customer, we can then bring those insights to life with messaging and creative strategy that drives results for your brand. Let Unbound put our years of retail experience to work for you and make your back-to-school shopping season one of your strongest performers yet.

Call us at 816.589.3333 for an evaluation of your back-to-school shopping scenarios.