Posts tagged back-to-college
College students have a voracious appetite for mobile apps that help them socialize and communicate. And a November 2012 online survey of 689 US college students conducted by Study Breaks and Campus2Careers finds that they are also committed mobile deal hunters.
Nine out of 10 respondents reported using their phones to scour for deals, coupons and specials; just 10% said they “never” did so. Moreover, 20% of surveyed college students were self-professed mobile deal addicts, saying they “always” checked their phones for the latest deals—another 31% checked their phones for deals “often.” In other words, over half of college students, 51%, were committed mobile deal aficionados.
As one might expect, the large numbers of students looking for purchases with phones in hand translates to large numbers of students making purchases through their phones. The study found that 70% of sampled college students made mobile purchases, and 52% did so at least once a month.
Additionally, college students are using mobile phones increasingly for classwork, a sign that the devices really have penetrated nearly every aspect of student life. Over half of respondents said they used their mobile phone for school-related tasks every day.
Make it easy for students to find deals at your store with our customizable mobile app. On The Go allows students to search your merchandise for information on everything from buyback values to textbook prices. Talk to your MBS Systems Sales Consultant about how On The Go can help your store capture more sales.
Siobhan Spiak and Katie Harada have spent months discussing in painstaking detail the décor of the 185-square-foot dorm room they will share this fall at American University in Washington, D.C.
Together, they envision a bohemian theme: walls painted robin’s-egg blue, floor-length mosaic-print curtains, large plush pillows, tribal-print tapestries and strings of hanging Christmas lights. They plan to use soft lighting and touchable fabrics in purples, blues and greens. Ms. Spiak wants to buy a four-poster canopy bed.
A growing number of retailers are creating specialized services for college students, such as online college checklists and videos of design ideas. Bed Bath & Beyond and the Container Store offer college gift registries. Target holds after-hours shopping events featuring dorm specials. And a number of retailers now offer direct-to-dorm delivery.
According to the National Retail Federation, freshman students and their families will spend an average of $374 on dorm furnishings and electronics, making up more than a third of total spending for college goods. Freshman students and families are spending nearly 11% more now than they did five years ago, averaging $929 per family in 2012 compared with $839 in 2007.
Some families predict spending a lot more. Corrie Bowen, whose daughter Nora will be leaving Williston Park, N.Y. to attend Pennsylvania State University, thinks they will shell out closer to $1,500. To attract the campus set, many stores begin advertising for the back-to-school season—the second-biggest shopping period of the year after Christmas—in March.
Ms. Spiak, the freshman from Phoenix, says she spends hours each week browsing online and looks at what her friends are buying online.
Ms. Spiak says she is “paranoid” about falling behind. Less than one week before move-in day, all she bought so far is a spork, a multipurpose utensil she picked up at an art museum. “At least it’s a start,” she says.
College shopping didn’t used to be so complex. Cindy Adams, whose son Marc will be attending the University of Rhode Island in the fall, says when she first went to college, she bought “some sheets, towels, a bedspread and that’s pretty much it.”
Ms. Adams and her husband Julius, who live in Rego Park, N.Y., are spearheading their son’s shopping efforts. “I picked out his pillows and comforter. It’s blue-and-white striped,” she says. Her husband adds, “We texted him photos.”
For his part, Marc contacted his future roommates, and together they identified the essentials. “I’m bringing the microwave, speakers and printer,” Marc says. “They’re bringing the TV, fridge and the Xbox 360.”
Jason Pina, who has worked in student affairs at colleges for nearly 20 years, says he sees fewer roommate pairs showing up with duplicate items because they have already planned in advance.
Janice Katz of Manhattan has also led dorm shopping for her daughter, Jacqui, a freshman attending Tulane University. Ms. Katz picked up the Container Store’s college list earlier in the summer, and she and Jacqui ordered more than $400 of stuff, including drawer liners, skinny hangers, poster tabs and bulletin boards. They arranged for the company to ship their purchases to New Orleans.
In recent years, many colleges have updated residence halls as a way to stand out among competitors. Some rooms are equipped with individual room-temperature controls, private bathrooms and built-in flat-screen televisions. Common lounge spaces can feature furnished kitchens, tea and coffee services and study and game tables, like pool, air hockey and ping pong.
Still, the size of the rooms has remained much the same. So as students’ shopping lists get longer, they’re arriving with more gear than rooms can hold.
Mr. Moody, the American University administrator, says he still sees families show up with U-Hauls on move-in day. After realizing that they can’t possibly fit everything into the school’s average 180-square-foot dorm room, the parents return home with the truck full of things that didn’t make the cut.
Mr. Pina advises students not to worry about remembering every single thing.
“It’s better to forget an item or two and bring it later,” he says. “You don’t have to bring your winter coat in August.”
Does your store offer dorm decor, a delivery service, or other move-in essentials? Tell us about them in the comments sections!
The 7th annual College Colors Day, an event dedicated to promoting the traditions and spirit that make the college experience great, is just around the corner! Is your store planning to participate? Celebrated August 31 of this year, the event encourages people across America to wear apparel from their favorite college or university throughout the day.
Since its inception in 2005, College Colors Day has grown rapidly across the country with thousands of organizations and millions of individuals participating annually. Because it coincides with back-to-school and the kick-off of intercollegiate athletics, it’s a great way to promote your store’s apparel and create awareness of all that you have to offer! Ensure your school shows its true spirit by promoting it early!
Need ideas on how to participate? Check a few that we came up with:
•Encourage students, faculty, and even community members to show their pride by snapping a picture in their spirit wear and posting it to your Facebook page. Then, enter all participants in a drawing to win a store gift card or team spirit package!
•Partner with local restaurants to host a Team Spirit Tailgate Party outside your store, with free food for all those who wear logoed apparel to the event. Play your school’s Fight Song or other fun tunes to create a festive atmosphere!
•Offer a discount on all logoed apparel in store to celebrate the day.
•See who has the most spirit – host a College Colors Costume Contest!
•Partner with other departments on campus to see who can get the most faculty members to dress in college colors. Award the winning group of staff members with a gift card to your store!
The College Colors Day website offers other ways you can get involved in the celebration, too. How is your store planning to participate? Share your own plans and ideas on our Facebook Page!
It’s that time of the year again! Students are preparing to head back to college, and the National Retail Federation has compiled a list of consumer trends to help retailers prepare. Based on their latest Back-to-School and College surveys, conducted by BIGresearch, we bring you an excerpt of some of the most relevant trends, and our take on what they mean for collegiate retailers. To view the full article by Kathy Grannis, NRF spokesperson, click here.
#2: It’s not about the best price. It’s about the best deal.
In 2009, it was all about the Benjamins. This year, we continue to see a trend that emerged during last year’s back-t0-school season: value matters more than price. Instead of looking for the lowest common denominator, parents may be swayed to purchase a laptop if it comes with a free one-year warranty or buy the lunchbox that comes with a matching thermos. Today’s back-to-school shopper is including factors like quality and service when deciding where to shop.
What it means for college stores: While your store may not always beat others on price, quality and service are two aspects collegiate retailers certainly offer. Promote your value by broadcasting the fact that you have little-to-no wait time at checkout or have employees that can help navigate students through the store to find what they’re looking for with ease on your social media. Consider highlighting specific high-quality products on these outlets, as well, to ensure students know they can use your store as a resource.
#6: This year, it all comes down to crunch time.
One of the trends NRF’s Ellen Davis wrote about last year was that “the early bird gets the deal.” Though we’re definitely seeing our share of shoppers who want to start early, many back-to-school shoppers this year are waiting until the last minute. Nearly one-third (31.2%) of parents of K-12th grade students will shop one to two weeks before school starts, up from 24.8% last year. For retailers, it will be important to move merchandise around in the supply chain, when possible, to take advantage of sales peaks as school bells start ringing in different areas of the country.
What it means for college stores: Be prepared for the possibility of rush to extending longer than normal. Keep this in mind when ordering inventory.
#7: Everyone’s a winner.
This year’s back-to-school season has something for everyone. Discounters, who have long touted low prices and one-stop-shopping convenience, will continue to be the most popular shopping destination. Department stores, as mentioned earlier, will see more shoppers than any time in our eight-year survey history. But a decent chunk of shoppers will also be visiting electronics stores, clothing stores and drugstores. The Internet also continues to be a force to be reckoned with, as people who shop in multiple channels will spend 40% more than those who only shop in stores – another reason why retailers should be paying close attention to their websites and mobile apps when thinking about ways to grow their business.
What it means for college stores: Consider adding extra information on your website or mobile apps such as current sales, promotions, or even online coupons. Play up the fact that you offer a variety of products from apparel to convenience items, so first time students know they can count on your store as a one-stop shop.
#10: Coming soon to a phone near you – back-to-school and college shopping.
In the next few weeks, NRF will be releasing brand-new data that evaluates how people will use their smartphones and tablets for back-to-school shopping this year. Let’s just say there are a lot of people who may buy their school or college needs without ever leaving their house – and those who plan to venture to the stores will be bringing their Droids and iPhones with them.
What it means for college stores: Students often have a perception that shopping online is cheaper. Ensure your store meets with that mentality by offering a discount to online shoppers during rush or offering them additional loyalty points. Your store can also capture those shoppers using their mobile devices by exploring mobile capabilities of MBS Systems inSite.
Check out the rest of the Top Ten for even more insight on how you can make the most of fall rush. For ideas on how to best prepare, talk with your MBS Representative.