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Loyalty Goes Back to School

Posted by Ray Chelstowski on Aug 5, 2022 12:00:00 AM

Here in the U.S., the back-to-school shopping season has become an extremely important business. In fact, back-to-shopping has been steadily increasing year over year, making it a very important segment for retailers and brands to pay attention to in developing their promotion strategy.

Back-to-school shopping is the second largest spend for families annually, right behind the holidays. In preparation for fall, parents must tackle 41-year inflationary highs and empty shelves to get their kids prepared for the upcoming school year. This year parents plan to spend $661 per child, on average, for back-to-school shopping, up 8% from 2021 and 27% from 2019. Clothing and accessories lead the increase, costing 18% more this year on average. School supplies cost 7% more. So as brands look to capitalize on the annual frenzy of buying new clothes, office supplies, and electronics, what steps can they take year in and out to ensure that their efforts deliver results? At Kognitiv we believe that there are two fundamental steps to add to your checklist when you’re considering your back-to-school marketing agendas: loyalty and technology.

Back-to-school (BTS) loyalty programs look to drive repeat annual business. With so much competition amongst brands, loyalty programs make a lot of sense; if you sell the same basic product as someone else, you need to give consumers a reason to see beyond the superficial aspects of the product and start valuing the core characteristics of your brand. Rewards and loyalty schemes are an efficient and valuable way to give back to consumers and inspire them to continue buying.

The research supports this idea: 85% of back-to-school shoppers look forward to returning to the same stores yearly. However, 91% would shop elsewhere if a store offered a promotion or reward. 66% would sign up for retailer loyalty programs during back-to-school shopping if offered a discount at the checkout. 72% of customers have loyalty program memberships at one to five of their favorite retailers. This behavior only heightens with inflation.

The good news is that new technologies have recently overlapped with consumers own behaviors to create solutions that are oriented around cost savings, efficiency, and scalability. When brands harness the power of smartphone technology, tech solutions like receipt processing come to light as the ideal way to execute seasonal programs. Consumers love engaging with mobile devices, and brands can deliver programs to any retailer quickly and efficiently, with the added bonus of being able to collect data that would not have been otherwise accessible.

When retailers have two big windows of opportunity to move the needle loyalty can uniquely ready that ship. Through loyalty, brands can communicate with consumers in a cadence that is patient, steady, and familiar. This is important. When those two big windows arrive and a loyalty relationship has been established it allows for incentives to be received, understood, and acted upon – in the moment.

In the fall it’s been said that “everyone goes back to school”. The learnings that loyalty can bring to the back to school selling season can be leveraged throughout the year. And with those learnings, brands can grow, excel, and optimally perform with high flying grades.


Topics: Loyalty Trends, Customer Engagement, Retail, Loyalty Strategy, Customer Experience


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