We shop for most everything else online, so why are we still doing our back-to-school shopping in stores?

[bctt tweet=”We shop for most everything else online, so why are we still doing our back-to-school shopping in stores?”]

Longstanding Tradition

Back-to-school shopping has been a longstanding tradition of kids excitedly browsing the isles for folders with images of the coolest band, notebooks in their favorite color, and pencils with the best erasers. A student’s desk, backpack, and locker are a few aspects of a child’s life within their control. They want to be involved in the decision-making process and are quite particular in their selections. But the fun to be had is all for the kids. Or is it? Many parents see this as a time to bond with their children. It brings back a sense of nostalgia for when their parents took them shopping to get ready for school. It is perhaps an activity that helps kids make that transition from summer to the new school year.

Back-to-School shopping all it’s cracked up to be?busy-Target-shopping-isles

According to a survey conducted by the research firm Market Track, 85% of shoppers said they would be doing the majority of their back-to-school shopping in stores this year. Now I don’t know about you, but trying to navigate a cart full of backpacks, pencils, folders and erasers down jam-packed isles with crazed moms and kids everywhere just doesn’t sound like the relaxing stroll down memory lane many parents are looking for. That has stress headache and a grumpy Alyssa written all over it, meaning no fun for anyone.


[bctt tweet=”85% of shoppers said they’d be doing the majority of their back-to-school shopping in stores this year.”]

Where’s the Emotional Connection?

I just Googled “Back to school shopping” and Walmart, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Target, Amazon, Staples and Office Depot were the top 7 NON-paid search results. Clearly retailers are advertising plenty for back-to-school, but where is this emotional connection I’m supposed to be having? Leeann Leahy, President of The VIA Agency (an advertising firm with clients like Sam’s Club, Welch’s and Unilever) says retailers do an excellent job of tapping into our emotions surrounding the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but are missing the mark when it comes to back-to-school. She suggests hosting in-store events offering tips for packing school lunches or organizing homework.


[bctt tweet=”Retailers are missing the mark when appealing to consumer emotions during back-to-school shopping.”]


Some retailers are catching on and attempting to appeal to the consumer’s sentiments during this special time of year. Famous Footwear’s “5…4…3…2…1! Happy New (School) Year!” commercial relishes in the idea that the start of a new school year is an opportunity to remake yourself into a “new you” and that shoes are a vital part of that, of course. If you haven’t seen it already, you can see it for yourself here:




Target’s new commercial “Back to School 2015: School Entrance” I actually found surprisingly charming. It depicts kids from different backgrounds all meeting up and running into the school doors as if they are about to embark on an exciting journey together. And I suppose, in a sense, they are!




Online Options

Now all of this is great, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of overcrowded isles or the fact stores are often out of the hottest item your son or daughter just HAS-TO-HAVE. So why not skip the full day of hectic shopping and order everything you need in a stress-free environment AND have it delivered right to your door? Pants optional. Yes, that’s right – Online.

Target has donTarget-school-list-assiste something else new this year. They’ve created a School List Assist page highlighting all of the most common K-8 school supplies to make shopping quick and easy for parents. It gets even better… with free shipping on all orders through August 15th!! This was the first year Target made site wide free shipping available during the back-to-school season.

Amazon has done something pretty interesting as well. On their back-to-school online store, parents can find all of the back-to-school necessities from notebooks and pencils to backpacks and sports gear. Again, just making that school shopping even easier with a one stop shop. But teachers can actually build their lists and share them with parents through links and emails as well.


[bctt tweet=”Teachers can build and share their supply lists with parents directly on Amazon’s back-to-school store.”]


Imagine sitting on your couch, in your robe, drinking your morning coffee on a Sunday and opening up a single webpage on your phone or tablet. From there, you’re able to look up your child’s required school supply list, order everything on the list and maybe a few extras you find might be useful. You know you’re getting a great price, you can easily see reviews on each item, and you can have it delivered to your door in time for school to start – for free. This leaves you with the rest of the day to spend quality time with your family doing your favorite summer activities together. (I bet school shopping didn’t make the list…)

Aaahhhhh… I just exhaled a breath of relief. Happy Back-to-School shopping everyone!!