Back-to-school generally evokes images of binders, writing utensils, notebooks, and rulers, but retail stores’ back-to-school sales today span almost every category in the store. From traditional school supplies to apparel, electronics, grocery, appliances and more, back-to-school is becoming a store-wide shopping event. Whether preparing a child for their first day of elementary school or a teenager for move-in day at their dorm, retailers are promoting the essentials needed to start the school year at any age a success.
While shoppers aren’t camping out or trampling each other in the aisles for these deals, the competition between stores is heating up. When retailers begin promoting back-to-school deals is getting earlier every year (with some starting as early as June), and competition to offer the best deals increases as the back-to-school shopping event expands to additional categories and retailers. Below are some examples of retailer’s recent back-to-school promotions, showcasing a wide range of categories.
It’s refreshing to see that school supplies haven’t changed too much from my day. It’s easy to imagine classrooms being very futuristic, but according to the promotions for this back-to-school season, paper and pens/pencils still reign supreme in today’s classroom.
Retailers are looking to put the lunch lady out of business with all their promotions for grocery products targeted for back-to-school. Whether it’s stocking up on lunch-time favorites or after school snacks, everyone from large supermarkets like Target to grocery stores like Aldi and Publix are promoting grocery items as part of their back-to-school sales.
While the futuristic classroom I had imagined doesn’t seem to have reached younger students, several back-to-school ads targeting college students do place a focus on electronics. Laptops for taking notes in class, thumb drives for sharing movies with friends, and head phones for walking around campus without having to interact with anybody lead the way for electronic items featured in back-to-school promotions.
My dorm had a futon, a mini-fridge, and a roommate who only wore tie-dye shirts (his closet looked like something from the Simpsons where everything is just the same). Decorative pillows, stylish lamps, bedding, and wall art is now all part of stores back-to-school promotions. The expanding scope of back-to-school allows for specialized stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond to compete in this ever-growing shopping event.
While most of this post makes me sound like an old person who yells at kids to stay off his lawn, the growth of back-to-school as a category spanning shopping event is a huge win for consumers who can save on these annual essentials. As more retailers become involved in back-to-school shopping, including electronics stores and home goods stores, the competition among retailers to entice consumers with better deals and pricing will increase, passing along savings to you, the shopper.