In retail marketing, we're always looking for the next big thing or trying to figure out how to squeeze more juice out of the current big selling times of year. Black Friday is the holy grail of shopping seasons. Last year, many retailers tried (successfully in most cases) to extend it by offering Black Friday deals early and then again later in the holiday season. Some even tried offering "Black Friday" deals at other times of the year, including the middle of the summer. Maybe that's was an attempt at replacing the now nearly defunct Christmas in July sale.
The next big thing in consumer spending sprees seems to be the Back To School period. A recent news article called it the "second most important time of year for America's retailers." And a National Retail Federation survey projects spending this year on back to school/college to reach 74.9 billion.
But even though the big bulk of spending falls into clothes, electronics, shoes and school supplies (see chart below) it seems to be a boost in all segments. For instance, our furniture retailer clients have had very good success with Back to School sales over the last few years. Sales figures are moving this sales period into the "natural holiday" category for sales.
|Planned BTS Spending - By Category In Billions|
|Charts from the NRF Foundation’s Retail Insight Center. To access this data and more research please visit the Retail Insight Center.|
Let's look at the sales for furniture retailers, during Back to School sales. In the past, ads have featured furniture you would purchase for your kids going off to college (futons, cheap sofas, mattresses, beanbag chairs) and youth furniture. They have also used promotions like a Walmart gift card with furniture purchase that customers can use to purchase traditional school supplies. This year, one of our clients dropped the additional promotional give-away and mostly featured normal furniture (non-back to school) and they still did got good sales results.
This tells me that consumers are in shopping mode. While they are in a spending mind-set, they are more likely to purchase other items they want or need. So, in reality, Back to School sales work well for just about any retail segment. If it's not in your sales arsenal, it might be time to add it in.
Would live to hear your BTS sales strategies and results. Do you participate and what has your experience been?