Back-to-School Shopping’s Busiest Days Are Still on the Horizon

August 10, 2022 ByKimMelvin


It’s already August, which means it’s time for one thing: back-to-school (BTS) shopping. And it’s gearing up to be a strong year for brick-and-mortar. That’s because, according to Sensormatic Solutions 2022 Back-to-School Shopper Sentiment Survey, over three-quarters (76%) of respondents shared that they plan to do their shopping in stores this year.

According to Sensormatic Solutions Shopper Insights data, the busiest days for BTS shopping have yet to pass. According to our research, we expect most of the season’s in-store shopping to take place from:

  • August 7 to 20 in the Midwest.
  • August 14 to September 3 in the Northeast.
  • July 31 to August 13 in the South.
  • July 31 to August 20 in the West.

With BTS shopping’s busiest days still on the horizon and parents expected to head into stores in droves, it’s time for retailers to get ready for the BTS rush (and the steady frequency of busy shopping days that will follow). So, what can retailers expect for the busiest part of the BTS shopping season? Here are a few takeaways from our latest survey:

  • Price and promotions will be top of mind.

    Shoppers love a good deal, and BTS is an opportunity for retailers to devise promotions that will draw in even more people looking to save money. In fact, 83% of those surveyed cited price as the most important factor when shopping in stores, and a further 24% cited in-store promotions as a compelling factor.

  • BOPIS will be crucial.

    Brick-and-mortar retailers offer shoppers an immediacy online sellers can never match. Pairing that advantage with well-executed buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) programs will give retailers a leg up as we near the first day of school. As such, it will be crucial that retailers can offer seamless, reliable BOPIS experiences for those shoppers who want the convenience of online ordering and the immediacy of in-store shopping—and retailers who invest in item-level inventory solutions will be ahead of the curve as we move through August.

    Brick-and-mortar retailers may also want to consider incentivizing BOPIS purchases with targeted promotions. After all, our survey found that 22% of respondents indicated that BOPIS-specific discounts encouraged them to use the option.

    Additionally, our survey found that 54% of those who use BOPIS methods have bought other goods unrelated to their original order when picking up their items. Those stores that streamline and incentivize their BOPIS programs can look forward to increased sales when they give customers the best of both worlds.

  • Sustainability will remain important.

    Sustainability continues to sit at the top of shoppers’ minds this BTS season. The majority (77%) of respondents said sustainability initiatives will play at least a modest role in their BTS shopping choices this year. Many even said that they will only shop with retailers that engage in sustainable practices. The same group responded that they plan to reuse as many of last year’s purchases as possible, and 70% said that plan to do at least some shopping at secondhand stores.

    These findings align perfectly with our previous research on consumer sentiments regarding sustainability. That survey found that over 70% of consumers would change their shopping habits if learning a brand was not operating sustainably despite cost being the most-cited barrier to sustainable shopping (55%).

Looking ahead: Beyond BTS

With BTS’ busiest days still ahead and a busy holiday season getting closer by the day, now’s the time for retailers to invest in technologies that support digital transformation journeys. Next-generation tools like shopper insights analytics and inventory intelligence capabilities can help retailers design promotions, offer tailored loyalty programs, operate seamless BOPIS programs, and deliver customer journeys that redefine shoppers’ expectations of in-store shopping.

As we move through the second half of the calendar year, Sensormatic Solutions is your destination for holiday information, news, insights and more. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter using #SensormaticHolidays2022.


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