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Winners with back-to-school shoppers are likely to see higher returns during holidays

Winners with back-to-school shoppers are likely to see higher returns during holidays


Winners with back-to-school shoppers are likely to see higher returns during holidays


Before I get to the subject matter at hand, allow me to conduct a brief sociological survey: How many times during the summer have you heard the following (or something to this effect)?: “I can’t believe how fast summer is going by this year.”

Never ceases to amaze me how many times we all say or at the very least think this as if one summer will somehow magically go slower than its predecessors.

Ok, enough of that.

As summer winds down it of course means back-to-school time, and in some parts of the country, school has already begun. Recently Cardlytics released their annual back-to-school research in which they identified five key trends for advertisers to consider based on 2018 results.

1. Back-toschool equates to more at holiday time

What This Means: According to the research customers acquired during back-to-school make for better holiday shoppers. The average holiday spend for customers acquired in the fall is 20% more than customers acquired for the first time within the holiday season – for marketers, it’s imperative to build shopping behavior and loyalty sooner rather than later. 

2. Online goes up but don’t neglect in-store

What This Means: Even though traditional brick & mortars – as opposed to what Cardlytics refer to as brick and mortar dotcoms (their online and mobile properties) – are decreasing, the majority of shoppers are still choosing to go to a physical location to make their purchases. All this means is that brands need to be ever vigilant about proving optimal in-store experiences versus assuming most consumers will shop online.

3. It’s important to start early but it’s also not too late 

What This Means: If last year is any indication we’ve already passed the spike in July most notably around Amazon Prime Day, which as you know, was in fact TWO days this year. However even though we’re in the home stretch of back-to-school shopping, we also know we humans are procrastinators which means there is still time to move some pens and pencils. Yes, I know ‘who uses these anymore?’ But you get the idea.

4. One stop shopping is king

What This Means: Unless your Amazon, Walmart or Target you are out of luck. I’m kidding of course. It is far too easy for brands to throw their hands up after looking at a stat like this and scream aloud: “Why bother?!” Back to school is no different than any other season or any other day, brands competing with the multiliners need to work that much harder to get their piece of the pie. Simplistic? Sure it is. But it’s also the truth.

5. Online plus in-store shoppers rock

What This Means: Ah, there is good news for those battling Goliath after all. Online customers who also shopped in-store spent 48% more and made 48.1% more purchases during the season than those single-channel shoppers. The key now is to give them what they want, when they want it and where they want it. Simple.

In closing

I spoke with Cardlytics CMO Dani Cushion about all this good stuff. Here are the highlights and her recommendations for brands.

  • “In addition to starting marketing campaigns earlier to drive and capture earlier back-to-school spending, the brands who have gotten this really right have focused on what every good marketer worth their salt knows – it’s all about the consumer.”
  • “Specifically, it’s all about making your shopping experience convenient for consumers wherever they want to shop. Those who are winning back-to-school are those who understand how important it is to drive cross-channel shopping behavior.”
  • “It’s also imperative to make the shopping experience convenient for consumers. Consumers are busy enough without having to jump through hoops to shop and save.”

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Steve Olenski is truly a unicorn. He has real world experience having worked at such companies as Prudential, Marsh & McLennan to his current role at Oracle. He’s also held roles as creative director and senior copywriter at various agencies. In addition to all that, Steve has established himself as one of the most influential writers in the space earning the respect of many CMOs including the former CMO of Walmart who refers to Steve as “The CMO Whisperer” and the CMO of Cadillac who calls his column a “must read.” In addition to Marketing Land, Steve has written for Advertising Age, Adweek, Business Insider, Forbes and MediaPost.


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