Using Location Intelligence to Determine Trends for Back-to-School Season

Using Location Intelligence to Determine Trends for Back-to-School Season

This year’s school shopping necessities have changed dramatically compared to past years. With most schools utilizing remote learning, and kitchen tables replacing school desks, how can retailers predict not only what to keep in stock and what to nix, but also evolving back-to-school trends before they happen? Location intelligence may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Different Locations, Different Rules for Back-to-School

Everything from mask mandates to school closures and openings have been left to the individual states and counties. Because of this, it may be confusing to determine where schools are open and where they are not, especially when those county-lines can be so close together. 

Let’s say that you are a large retailer in the state of Florida. Your store is a go-to location for back-to-school supplies and every other year, you’ve been able to use data to know what to keep in stock and how much. This year is very different, especially considering that different counties have different back-to-school rules. How can you know what will sell, what to stock, and how many to keep on the shelves?

By integrating mobile location data into your customer data platform (CDP), you get direct insight into where your potential customers are shopping and when. This data will tell you not only who is shopping, but what they are shopping for.

Unique Back-to-School Trends

With the trajectory that 2020 is taking, every other article on the internet that discusses retail or trends in the space says the same thing, the same word repeated over and over again: unpredictable. We don’t know when schools are going to adopt in-class sessions again; when students will don their school uniforms; when teachers can decorate their physical classrooms instead of their virtual classrooms.

The tides change faster than we can blink. Unlike previous back-to-school seasons, August and September would have seen the influx of in-store shopping sprees for uniforms and supplies. If you are a store manager for the Florida retailer from the example above, then keeping track of when to adjust your stock according to school openings or closings can be especially difficult. Today could be the day of home-desks and laptop pillows, and tomorrow that could change to backpacks and uniforms.

While we are still seeing some of the back-to-school trends stay the same, that could change in the blink of an eye. In order to stay ahead of the curb, use location intelligence to look at what your competitors are doing.

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Stay Ahead of the Competition

According to an August Washington Post article, “More than a dozen major chains have already filed for bankruptcy since the pandemic, and many others are on shaky ground as they enter the critical back-to-school season, which is expected to bring in more than $100 billion.”

The competition is rife right now as retailers brace for an unpredictable back-to-school season. Stores are trying to innovate to roll with the times. With every retailer competing for the same customers who already have tighter budgets, using competitive intelligence to stay ahead of the game is the one thing that may help you beat the 2020 slump. 

By using location intelligence to gain insight on who your competition’s customers are, when they shop, and what they are shopping for, you can align your methods and laser-focus your marketing campaigns.

Adapt to Change with Location Intelligence

Students, parents, teachers, and retailers have no idea what the future holds for the rest of this school year. Everything about it, along with 2020, is tangled in a knot that we haven’t been able to untie yet. All that anyone can do is prepare in the best way they can for the future ahead. 

Take a step in the right direction by using location intelligence and contact us for a consultation today.

Talk with a Gravy Analytics sales representative to learn how location intelligence can benefit your business.

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