NRF’s 2014 Back-to-school Survey Puts Millennials in the Spotlight

Is Your Ecommerce Business Ready for the Surge of Online Shoppers?

By Jeanney Kim


On July 17, the National Retail Federation came out with its 2014 Back-to-school Survey. Designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to back-to-school spending, this survey becomes extremely helpful to online retailers — read on to find out why.

Back-to-school signifies a fresh start to the year for most millennials. While some may see New Year’s and its accompanying resolutions as the kick-starter of the year, the start of a collegiate school year also holds bountiful opportunities — new friends, new classes, new love interests, new digs and of course, new clothing and books!

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, the NRF shows that total college spending is expected to reach $48.4 billion this year.

On average, the survey found that a college student and his/her family will spend around $916.48 on items such as dorm furniture, school supplies, electronics and more, which is a jump of 10 percent from last year’s survey results.

With so many things to check off the list for college-aged students, online shopping will be a popular destination for shoppers:

  • One third of college shoppers will do more comparative shopping online
  • As a result, 21 percent will shop online more often
  • More than two in five shoppers will check out retailers’ websites for special promotions — the highest in the survey’s history

So what does this all mean for online business? A lot, actually.

Here are a few tips to help you make sure your ecommerce business is on top of its game during one of the busiest online shopping and shipping seasons of the year:

Keep Your Inventory Up-to-date

You need to make sure your best-selling items are in stock and ready for shipping. Do some research and make sure anything that was hot last year is well stocked in your inventory.

Use Social Media to Drive Website Traffic

According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, businesses will be trying to attract millennials with “… promotions through Instagram and other social channels.” That means that those tweets you are pushing out featuring cute clothes and “to-die-for” dorm furnishings need to clearly link back to a streamlined, user-friendly website.

Keep Shipping in Mind

During one of the busiest shipping seasons, be sure to have a good supply of boxes and shipping supplies on hand. USPS offers several box sizes and shipping options, including regional and flat rate. Also, don’t forget to simplify your returns process with Pay-On-Use Returns. You’ll be glad you did when you save time and money during this hectic shipping season.

The bottom line: remember to keep your inventory well-stocked, amp up your social media and website, and make sure that your shipping services and returns are pain-free. Once you have these things checked off your list, you’ll be ready to go!

For more insight, check out our ecommerce tips and trends page.

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