Back-to-school retail: Innovations shaping the $72 billion market

Aug 3, 2023
Written by WR Communications


According to predictions, back-to-school retail sales are anticipated to grow by 2.9% this year, reaching nearly $72 billion, according to forecasts. While different projections exist, one is sure to remain: retailers will innovate to attract sales. The challenge lies in efficiently catering to both parents and kids, as highlighted by analyst Suzy Davidkhanian in the “Behind the Numbers: Reimagining Retail” podcast.

Leading back-to-school players are offering value through discounts and enhanced shopping experiences. Walmart is setting an example by promoting in-store inclusivity. During Saturday mornings from July to August, the store is creating sensory-friendly hours for individuals with sensory disabilities. This move aligns with the fact that 15% of all public school students receive special education services. Embracing inclusivity can attract a broader customer base.

Amazon’s back-to-school ad campaign encourages parents to spend less and save more by shopping for discounted items. The campaign emphasizes value, targeting cost-conscious parents—especially those with reduced discretionary dollars. Prime Day’s early back-to-school deals also provide valuable insights into high-demand products and categories for the holiday season.

Target is focusing on college students by offering a registry tool to add products to their wish lists easily and can share them with parents. Additionally, Target Circle offers college students a 20% discount on one shopping trip. Leveraging its brick-and-mortar advantage helps to capture a customer base that previously relied on competitors like Bed Bath & Beyond for college essentials.

Retailers are tapping into markets with unique needs to capture their share of back-to-school sales and identify opportunities to fill gaps. Inclusivity, discounts, and targeted offers catering to specific customer segments, such as on-campus college students, are essential for success. As the back-to-school season approaches, these innovative strategies show retailers’ resilience in an often-frenzied marketplace.


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