It's that time of year again: Time for students to clear the cobwebs left over from summer and prepare themselves for some new knowledge.
For many parents and college students, "Back to School" means it's time to go shopping for spiral notebooks, pencils and pens, folders and everything else pupils need to be successful. According to predictions gleaned from the National Retail Federation's annual survey, $74.9 billion will be spent on school supplies this year. This is a 3 percent increase from the $72.5 billion consumers spent on these items last year, Fox Business reported.
This year, the average school supply list calls for 18 different items, from calculators to crayons to tablets. But the way in which shoppers are purchasing these items is beginning to change.
Consumers turn to online retailers for back-to-school supplies
Instead of fighting through the hordes of parents and students hitting brick-and-mortar retailers, a number of consumers are now turning to online stores for their back-to-school needs. Internet Retailer research put the number of shoppers who plan to purchase more classroom and dorm items online this year than in physical stores at 68 percent.
Fox Business noted that this change is akin to what has happened with holiday shopping in recent years.
"Factors fueling that online shift [include] better prices, quicker shopping and avoiding crowds," Fox Business contributor Chris Versace wrote.
Fox affiliate News Center 23 noted that even the experts are recommending online shopping for back-to-school items this year as a means of lowering stress. As the days leading up to the first day of school dwindle away, last-minute shoppers are skipping the in-person rush and opting instead to purchase items from the comfort of their own homes.
A number of retailers are responding with special online-only deals. Many have outfitted their websites with features especially for back-to-school - including banners advertising particular discounts - and have adjusted their homepages to showcase their educational and classroom items. However, these aren't the only preparations stores should make for the fall rush.
Special features needed for back-to-school shopping
Retailers also must ensure that their websites are equipped with the best e-commerce solutions to guarantee a positive end-user experience. This is where Hostway comes in, ready to arm vendors with industry-leading e-commerce software and shopping cart systems. With these features in place, retailers can be ready for every back-to-school shopper's needs.