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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 26, 2014

Retailers: How to improve sales now for back to school

Many American kids are already back in school, but that doesn't mean retailers should slack on back to school advertising. According to many experts, the back to school season will continue to be strong through September, and that leaves plenty of time for retailers to benefit.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: We're into the back-to-school buying season - what can retailers do now to improve sales?

Meyar Sheik, CEO and Co-Founder, Certona: Retailers need to understand who their customers are, how they're shopping and what they value most. This year, parents are looking to discount stores, e-commerce sites and mobile devices to find the best deals. Retailers must align with these customer preferences to capture shoppers' attention. This includes offering next-day delivery, free shipping or the option to pick up online purchases in-store. This will help retailers stand out during a time where so many in the industry are competing on price alone.

Kristina: How important is it for retailers to be available across channels (mobile, social, web, etc)?

Meyar: Research has shown that customers are shopping across multiple channels. Brands that don't optimize their customer journey will fail entirely. It's critical that retailers have a consistent presence across all those same customer touchpoints. Having an effective omnichannel strategy is how retailers can remain profitable and relevant with their customer bases, as well as attract new customers. It's not as important to have a streamlined experience across every conceivable channel, only the ones a brand's customers are using. Millennials shop very differently from boomers, for example. Just like luxury retailers have customers with unique expectations from discount retailers. Know your customers inside and out, and then consider which channels to invest in.

Kristina: Several surveys have indicated price/discounts will be a huge factor for 2014 BTS spending. How can retailers stand out from the crowded discount space?

Meyar: Competing on price alone is a race to the bottom. Most retailers recognize that and are therefore, offering price-matching guarantees and free shipping to win over consumers. But there is more to shopping than price and free offers. The most successful brands tap into data analytics to gain valuable information into their target market. This includes contextual, behavioral and historical data. Having tools that cannot only provide meaningful context into that data but can also predict shopping behavior puts them at an advantage, especially in e-commerce.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: back to school advertising, back to school spending, Certona, ecommerce

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