2017 Back-to-School Trends [Infographic]

Article
by Bill McCarthy on 08-24-17

With back-to-school in full swing, it’s time to re-group, check in, and review incoming reports on 2017 back-to-school trends.

Are you meeting company-wide sales goals? What about goals at the regional or market level? Are reported spending trends on track to match industry predictions?

To aid in the post-BTS assessment process, check ShopperTrak’s 2017 back-to-school trends infographic. Download the graphic below, and use it as a point of reference when reviewing shopper traffic trends and the most relevant BTS 2017 predictions from trusted sources across the industry. Then, refer to our takeaways section to help make the most of the remaining weeks in the back-to-school season.

Yet, with 2017 back-to-school trends on the mind, how exactly, would retailers be best advised to make the most of the remaining BTS season? Here are three quick tips, from your friends at ShopperTrak:

1.)Don’t write off the weekdays

Our data indicates that Tuesdays and Thursdays are generally slower days during the BTS season, but knowing which days are actually the slowest enables retailers to plan strategically. Be sure to not only reduce headcount, but to schedule deliveries and re-stocking spurts during slower traffic days.

On the other end of this, weigh whether it’s ideal to schedule the highest-converting associates for the busiest periods, or to leverage the best players when traffic is slow, as part of an effort to increase conversion. Relatedly, assess whether it’s reasonable to increase headcount with mid-performing associates on the floor during the busiest periods — that is, when shoppers are intentionally looking to buy.

2.) Retain seasonal hires, contrary to popular opinion

Brian Field, ShopperTrak’s Senior Director of Advisory Services, has made an excellent – not to mention, financially savvy – case for retaining seasonal BTS workers through the holiday season.

Field contends that if a retailer has already chosen to acquire temporary help throughout both the back-to-school and holiday seasons, then it undoubtedly can be cost effective, and better for operational efficiency, to retain temporary BTS hires through both seasons.

“The time an existing store team must take from current tasks, coupled with the investment in bringing on an untrained new hire, is rarely considered beyond adding floor coverage hours during November and December in budgeting,” Field writes. For detailed coverage of the case for long-term seasonal retention, read Field’s article here.

3.) Begin keeping operational records now

The importance of logging operational struggles and triumphs as they occur cannot be overstated. If you’re not doing so already, have store and district managers track traffic daily during BTS, so that they know precisely when the busiest hours and days are. Don’t mistakenly lump all weekdays together, or assume that a Sunday will be busier than a Monday.

Becoming comfortable with acting on insights from traffic data naturally follows a period of getting well acquainted with traffic data – not to mention, making a daily traffic analysis part of one’s routine. When reviewing traffic trends,  keep a log of challenging moments on the floor or in the stock room, as well as times when associates went above and beyond. Summarize your findings immediately after the season concludes (while it’s still fresh!) and leverage the records for holiday staffing, associate incentivizing, and BTS 2018 planning.

Happy BTS mid-term — check out ShopperTrak’s 2017 Back-to-School Trends infographic below.

Click here to download the graphic and reveal content sources.

2017 Back-to-School Trends Infographic TO PUBLISH

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Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.