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How Can a Retail Software Solution Help Stores Gear Up For Back-To-School Shopping Season?

Shopping cart with back-to-school supplies

A retail software solution can help stores make the most of the always important back-to-school shopping season.

As an article on The New York Times website reports, retailers know there’s stiff competition for consumer dollars in today’s economy. That’s why retailers have upped the ante in their marketing efforts. Retailers often launch their seasonal marketing campaigns several weeks before an official holiday, hoping to nudge nervous consumers to spend in the name of quality, value and a great price.

There’s no magic number or answer for forecasting demand for back-to-school shopping. The key for retailers is to look at historical data tracked by their retail software solution to gauge how many of the staples they’ll need to stock up on, such as notepads, folders, backpacks and blue jeans. Then, retailers need to factor in coming trends, including external influences related to the economy, weather and even politics.

For example, if the economy is doing well, it makes sense to order more high-end clothing items, or if a warm winter is expected, a retailer could plan on selling fewer heavy jackets and boots. And retailers need to keep abreast of local factors, such as a school district switching to school uniforms, as that would likely impact clothing purchases. That’s why analyzing data with a retail software solution can help retailers put their best foot forward during the busy back-to-school shopping season.

Tracking actual results as close to real time as possible and knowing your supply chain can also make a difference in retail profitability in seasonal swings. For example, knowing that an item is flying off the shelves at a much higher rate than what was planned may allow the supply chain savvy retailer to know that it could still order and receive additional supply before the end of the holiday or season.

Of course, this requires knowledge of vendor lead times, economic orders quantities and current rate of sales consumption. For items that are not moving as quickly as expected, accelerating offers and discounts may prevent a slow-moving item from taking up shelf space after the back-to-school holiday and prevent the “fire” sales to clear out the item for the next big thing.

“The back-to-school period, like Black Friday, is super important to us,” Keds president Rick Blackshaw tells The New York Times. “Back-to-school is the biggest time of year that a girl shops for casual athletic footwear.”

Retailers are targeting millennials, who are shoppers in their teens through age 30. With that in mind, Office Depot teamed up with boy band One Direction in a direct cause-related marketing campaign promoting anti-bullying.

Teen Vogue magazine, meanwhile, is drumming up back-to-school shopping hoopla by declaring the second Saturday in August as National Back-to-School Saturday. The magazine has partnered with more than 50 brands, including footwear retailer Keds, to provide deals on that day.

Source: The New York Times, May 2013