Search Engine Marketing Home / Blog article: Back-to-School Shopping is a Family Affair

Back-to-School Shopping is a Family Affair

By Dawn Zencka | VP, Strategic Insights

The back-to-school season is just around the corner. Traditionally, moms have been the gatekeepers to shopping, but with the percentage of working moms at an all time high; dads and teens are stepping up their role in helping out with what makes it into the shopping cart. This school season, retailers need to target the other customers that are involved with the final purchase decisions. Here are some tips on how to reach your targeted market.

Dads are doing the purchasing too.

While men are shopping more, advertisers seem to be missing the mark with dads. According to a 2012 Yahoo!’s back-to-school survey, only 24% of the dads felt that advertising in consumer packaged goods and apparel spoke to them. An untapped opportunity for marketers could be to delve more into the male-shopper mindset in order to better design the creative and communication strategies so that they resonate more with men.

One key difference between dads and moms is between value and price. Dads place higher importance on value and moms are more price-conscious.  Playing that out at the register, moms want to feel as if they’ve gotten the best deal dollar-wise but dads want the confidence that what they’ve decided to buy is a good value.

For teens, it’s more than just a trip to the mall.

With an estimated shopping power of close to $2 billion, teens are an important customer group. According to the latest National Retail Federation/BIG Research 2011 Back to School Survey, more than half of the parents surveyed said their teen’s influence their purchasing decisions 50-75% of the time.

While teens do shop online – eMarketer reported in February 2011, that more than 50% of teens have made online purchases, they do still like the ritual of going to the mall.  In 2009, the Washington Post shadowed more than 60 teens to uncover their shopping preferences: they like shopping in stores with their friends as they get live feedback on how things look and if something is on trend.

Make sure you are effectively reaching moms.

First things first, make sure you have the bases covered in terms of effectively reaching moms.  With a spending power that was recently estimated at $2.4 trillion, moms still wield the biggest pocket book.

Since moms are savvy shoppers, who seek out deals and are not afraid to use coupons, provide her with a series of offers that incrementally reward her for each subsequent visit, working to keep mom feeling valued and appreciated.

According to Baby Center’s May 2010, Survey: 21st CenturyMOM ™, moms often look to their online community to gain feedback on products and services bought; 76% use social networks and 63% feel that ratings and reviews help them with their final purchase decisions.

With the growth of smartphones and tablets, campaigns should be designed across devices and platforms. Google and the National Retail Federation polled consumers to identify top activities conducted across devices for Back-to-School shopping.

The bottom line.

Marketers really need to understand how dads, teens, and moms engage across desktops, smartphones, tablets and offline channels, as well as what mindsets and key consideration factors motivate them to buy during the back-to-school season.


  1. Franklin says:
    Jul 18, 2012

    Nice article

  2. Joe says:
    Jul 26, 2012

    Nice topic

What do you think?

Name required



  • In The News