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Kristina Tipton

Director, Market Research at Near

3 mins read

61% of Back-to-School Shoppers Are Using Omnichannel Shopping Behaviors

Near’s recent survey showed a majority of shoppers using more than one channel in their back to school shopping journey.

It’s that time of year – temperatures start to cool, pumpkin spice starts showing up on menus, and kids across the U.S head back to school. And this year, as they head back they’re increasingly shopping using multiple channels – a combination of online, in-store and apps – to research, test, and complete their purchase journey. In fact, in Near’s new Retail Study of 2,048 global shoppers, we found that 61% of the 619 U.S. back to school shoppers are using omnichannel shopping, higher than the overall 52% of shoppers who are using omnichannel shopping.

Why Shoppers are Turning to Omnichannel

Here’s a breakdown of some of the specific omnichannel purchase journeys shoppers are taking:

Omnichannel Shopping Behaviors Used By Back-to-School Shoppers

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When it comes to deciding how to shop, consumers have specific reasons they prefer to shop online versus in-store. When it comes to online shopping a majority of back-to-school shoppers say “it saves time” (56%). 47% also said online shopping was “easier to find deals”. However, in-store shopping also had some distinct advantages. 50% of back-to-school shoppers said in-store shopping made it “easier to see product quality.” And not to be counted out, 45% of shoppers say they enjoy the experience of shopping in stores. Omnichannel shopping can give consumers the best of both worlds, helping them reap the benefits of both online and in-store shopping.

Finding Deals is Important Too

Omnichannel shopping can also give savvy consumers a better chance at finding deals, as roughly two-thirds of respondents are looking for ways to save this back-to-school season. Of the back-to-school saving strategies, roughly half of shoppers are turning to buying generic items over brands. Additionally, one-third of shoppers are cutting out clothes, accessories and other discretionary items completely to focus just on classroom supplies.

Money-saving strategies Used B back-to-school shoppers

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Shoppers Are Planning to Spend More for the Rest of the Year

However, while back-to-school shoppers are on the lookout for deals, they do seem to be optimistic on spending overall. In fact, 58% of back-to-school shoppers say they plan to spend more for the rest of the year versus last year, with 27% saying they plan to spend “a lot more” and 31% planning to spend “a little more.” This group planning to spend more outnumbers the 29% planning to spend about the same as last year, and the 13% planning to spend less than last year.

How much do you plan to spend for the rest of the year (including holidays), compared to last year?

How Retailers Can Navigate Upcoming Shopping Seasons with Consumer Behavior Data

The growing prevalence of omnichannel shopping underscores the significance of a seamless shopping experience. As consumers seamlessly traverse both digital and physical realms when making purchase decisions, the integration of online platforms, mobile apps and physical stores has become pivotal. Businesses looking to harness the potential of omnichannel shopping need to provide consistent and personalized experiences across various touchpoints. To achieve this, retailers must turn to accurate, comprehensive, and real-time data that offers deep insights into the preferences and behaviors of diverse consumer segments.

With consumer behavior data, retailers can:

  • Curate audiences for multi-channel advertising based on real-world behaviors, such as store visits, to target those consumers with digital, social or CTV ads.
  • Attribute store visits and other behaviors to consumers who saw ads, visited your website and more
  • Understand both visitation patterns and demographics in locating and formatting stores
  • Ensure more relevant messaging and increased personalization for shoppers by understanding shopping patterns, demographics, and more

As retailers serve customers for back to school shopping and other upcoming key shopping season, the significance of high-quality data and a steadfast commitment to consumer privacy cannot be overstated. In an era marked by ever-changing consumer behaviors, data serves as the compass guiding strategic decisions.

Learn more about how Near’s Consumer Behavior Data helps retailers navigate changing shopping behaviors. Check out our retail insights or request a demo.