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Retailers Revise Their Back-to-School Strategies

A longer selling period and added competition from Amazon have caused US retailers to rethink how they market the back-to-school shopping season, a new survey finds.

A significant number of retailers—roughly three in four—plan to change up their back-to-school strategy this year, according to RetailMeNot and Kelton Global. One key focus? Driving in-store traffic.

Over half of respondents said they want to host special in-store events, like having celebrities or influencers visit their stores, while another 39% said they plan to offer customers food and drinks while they shop.

Pop-up shops, charity events and even traveling marketing campaigns—which they define as vehicles carrying branded merchandise—are other tactics they plan to use to bolster back-to-school sales. 

For back-to-school shopping, many consumers still prefer the in-store experience. In a recent Deloitte survey, most US parent internet users said they plan to buy classroom supplies (61%), clothing and accessories (61%) and electronics (53%) in a physical store. 

That echoes findings from Field Agent, where roughly two-thirds of US mother smartphone users said their household will likely visit two to three stores to buy school supplies, while another 20% said they plan to visit four or five.