Back-To-School In College Reveals The Digital Age

Everyone is going back to school soon, including college students. There are lessons to learn from every beginning of the school year, but this year, the focus is largely on the revelation of a true digital age. Back-to-school shopping is always a major trend during this time of year, bringing several elements to light in a digital spectrum.

Back to School Is Marked By Digital Experiences

Besides the fact that the phrase “back to school” is usually trending for all of August and part of September, there’s an influx in online shopping and preparations this year. The number of shoppers to purchase their school supplies online has risen by 15 percent this year, which is a direct product of such programs as Target’s School List Assist and Bed Bath & Beyonds’ Campus Checklists. These aids use pre-made, comprehensive lists to make shopping for traditional college supplies easy.

Furthermore, mobile buying is at an all-time high. According to an infographic from the National Retail Federation (NRF), approximately 45 percent of college student will use their tablets or phones to purchase items, and 9 in 10 college students will take advantage of free shipping. Retailers know that college students are turning more towards mobile, and they’re optimizing websites and sending out mobile coupons in order to attract these shoppers to their stores.

Social media is the epitome of the college digital experience. It’s at the height of popularity for college students. Each new semester students share photos of their first dorm room, great shopping deals, the first look at the college campus, and more on social media. With mobile devices making it so easy to snap a photo and post to Instagram, who could resist documenting every college experience online?

Retailers Are Already Planning Ahead for the Holiday Season

Because of the influx of data that comes from every online shopping experience during this season, retailers are already prepared for the holiday seasons. They’re tracking the metrics on how often shoppers use certain devices to make purchases, when they’re browsing, and which coupons they’re most likely to use.

The data they’re receiving is telling them that college students love in-store pickup, free delivery, and same-day delivery options. They’re finding that people are willing to pay more for the original product if these services are offered as a perk. Fulfillment and instant gratification are the most popular personas for college aged students.

Renters Are Going Online

Aside from the retail experience, there’s a major increase in the number of renters who go online to look for their apartments. Though 31 percent of college students will live in a dorm room or college housing this year, according to the NRF, 69 percent of these millennial renters will find housing elsewhere, and they’re going online to find it.

According to a blog post from Green Residential, expert property managers,

“You can bet that the majority of millennial renters use their smartphones and mobile devices for almost everything, including finding and applying for rental properties. If you want to speak their language, make sure that your contracts and applications are all online.”

The renting process is becoming just as digital as every other college-related expense this year. It’s a clear message to those looking to make a mint off of the college experience. If retailers want to make the most on back to school season, they’ll embrace the digital age.

[Image via Parature.com]