Mobile to play a bigger role in back-to-school shopping this year

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Almost four out of five parents will use a smartphone while back-to-school shopping this year

Mobile is helping parents ace this year's back-to-school shopping season. A recent study by Retale shows that 78% of parents will use a smartphone to gear up for the fall — a 7% uptick compared to last year.

The weekly ads and deals company surveyed 1,000 parents with kids in kindergarten through 12th grade about their shopping behaviors. And when it comes to back-to-school shopping, these moms and dads do their homework. Among the 78% of parents who plan on using their smartphones to shop, 63% intend to use their mobile devices to compare prices. Other popular shopping activities include searching for coupons/deals (62%), creating shopping lists (55%), accessing saved coupons (53%), checking store hours (50%), researching products (47%), finding nearby store locations (46%), checking product reviews (41%), and buying directly from the device (37%).

"Smartphones have increasingly become the go-to shopping tool for parents to research, plan and organize their back-to-school purchases," said Retale's President Pat Dermody in a statement. "Retailers need to keep up with mobile's rise in consumer shopping behavior, incorporating in-store and digital mobile content to drive visits and purchases. If they don't, parents will simply shop elsewhere."

Thirty-eight percent of parents perform these mobile shopping activities both in- and out-of-store. Location preferences can be seen in the chart below:

In other words, your omnichannel marketing should always be in session.

What's more, almost all (89%) parents say that retailers' availability of mobile coupons and deals determines where they shop. In fact, 32% of parents say they prefer to access back-to-school deals via retailers' apps or websites. Others prefer to access them through coupon or deal aggregator apps or sites (24%), on the product's app or website (23%), and by receiving deals via text messages from retailers (20%).

And while the mobile device is where many parents start their shopper journey, the store is where most finish them. According to the study, 82% of parents plan to make at least 70 percent of their back-to-school purchases in-store this year, and almost one-third (32%) plan on purchasing all of their items in-store. 

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