Get Ready for B-T-S!

So you think that you can just add a few more beauty products to your shelves to satisfy the back-to-school surge … maybe sometime in August? Think again.

PriceGrabber’s recent Back-to-School Shopping Forecast survey reveals that 46% of consumers are planning to spend more in the 2012 B-T-S shopping season than in 2011.

In comparison, only 13% of last year’s B-T-S shoppers planned to spend more than the year before.

In addition, this year 35% percent plan to spend the same amount of money as last year (compared to 52% last year) and 19% plan to spend less this year (compared to 35% last year).

“From last year's holiday shopping season through the middle of 2012, we've seen consumers starting to shop earlier surrounding major shopping seasons and holidays, and we expect this trend to continue this back-to-school shopping season," says Graham Jones, PriceGrabber's general manager. "Many consumers are planning to spend more money this back-to-school shopping season and a few are still hesitant about spending—leading shoppers to search for deals even earlier to take advantage of retailer incentives and discounts, such as free shipping, coupons and sales."

It may be wise to spread out your beauty inventory and promotions to capture not only a wider net of customers, but also a longer period of B-T-S shopping. Why? About 55% of B-T-S shoppers plan to spread out their back-to-school purchases to distribute the cost over a longer time period. In 2012, 17% plan to start their B-T-S shopping in June, 35% plan to start shopping in July, 44% plan to start in August and only 3% in September. Labor Day this year is Sept. 3.

"Back-to-school shopping can quickly become expensive," adds Jones. "In today's challenging economic climate, it's important for families and students to save on back-to-school items. Many consumers are harnessing the power of the Internet to find deals, compare prices, set price alerts, print coupons and take advantage of online promotional codes and free shipping to save extra cash."

So take note: Stock up early and plan. Make sure that you’ve got your inventory and promotions set for the long summer ahead to meet the demands of not only your regular customers but the savvy B-T-S demographic too.

Shelley Moench-Kelly