Market Track: Amazon Reshaping Back-To-School

According to Market Track, Amazon’s newly introduced Prime Day, which debuted on July 15, created a new mid-summer e-commerce event just before peak back-to-school shopping in early August. The market research firm asserted that Prime Day and competitive responses will impact back-to-school shopping trends next year.

In the 2015 back-to-school selling period, according to Market Track, retailers cut back on circular advertising generally, and focused their communications with back-to-school shoppers, whether their designated audiences were teachers, students or parents.

Market Track noted that July e-commerce events could prompt an earlier start to back to school selling in the future. Prime Day, and the widespread competitive response to it, created a new shopping-style event only two weeks before the main back-to-school shopping period in August, the firm maintained. Market Track’s recent “Back-to-School Shopper Insight Series” survey found that 63% of shoppers make the majority of school-related purchases in August. Retailers will have to consider how promotionally aggressive they want to be online throughout July if Amazon repeats Prime Day mid-summer, the firm stated, while still strategizing incentives to draw back-to-school shoppers to their stores in early August.

Peak online promotions for school supplies ran through the first two weeks of August 2015. Despite Prime Day, retailers such as Office Depot, Staples and Amazon offered their deepest discounts on BTS products between August 2 and 12 this year, Market Track noted.

Combined, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Target, Walmart, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s decreased their circular output during July and August by 13%, Market Track related, but didn’t skimp on event circulars. Rather, they limited their manufacturer-sponsored circulars.

Three out of every four shoppers use print circulars to find deals during back-to-school, according Market Track.

Market Track pointed out that many retailers brought stakeholders into a back-to-school experience as opposed to simply offering bargains. To make BTS shopping easier and more attractive, the Amazon School List provided teachers with a portal to establish supply requirements for parents and students. For their parts, Macys, Kohl’s, and J.C. Penney hosted BTS social media contests and activities.