Promoting the importance of the back-to-school value and quality equation

Alison Wiltshire

15 Jun 2022

This year the back-to-school period has meant one equation has become more important than ever.

Value + quality = happy parents.

The current cost of living crisis has meant that consumers are looking to cut costs in all areas of their lives as they look to protect their finances. With £1.2 billion spent on back-to-school shopping by British consumers, any savings can be significant, and the fight for value gets more intense each year.

But not at the expense of quality. In areas such as back-to-school shopping, consumers want both keen prices AND excellent quality. After all, those bargain price school shoes will count for nothing if they’ve split within the first term. As such, value and durability will be the strongest messages ever during the 2022 back-to-school promotion period.

There are also fabric developments for customers to understand. Retailers, including Asda, with its Easy On Easy Wear range, and Marks & Spencer, with its Adaptive range, now offer a range of sensory-kind fabrics as part of their uniform offer, which needs explaining and highlighting to shoppers.

Parents also have to be mindful of what they are buying from the point of view of their child too. Woe betides the parent that chooses regular-fit trousers over slim fit for a fashion-conscious teen or who purchases the wrong school bag or pencil case.

How social proof messaging can help parents

Social proof messaging can help to guide purchasing decisions in all these areas, helping to narrow down product choice and ensuring parents can buy more easily and more confidently.

It can help surface attributes such as product features. These could be the sensory-friendly fabrics or slim fit cuts we referenced earlier or other useful features such as dirt-repellent or crease-resistant fabrics that make the life of a parent easier come the end of the school week and the dreaded uniform wash.

Understanding what is selling at that moment in time with trending messaging also helps narrow down what can sometimes be an overwhelming range of products to choose from. It uses a retailer’s real-time data to highlight popular products while browsing, which can help shoppers understand what other children will be heading back to school wearing or carrying.

The real-time aspect of the data used is not only important for identifying what’s popular at that particular point in time but can also be helped to warn shoppers when the stock of items they are browsing is running low. That’s especially vital given how short the back-to-school window can be and the inevitable back-to-school shop rush when parents realise that what they bought earlier in the summer no longer fits or that the new term is looming faster than they realised.

Review messaging helps in that all-important value plus quality equation we mentioned earlier. By aggregating reviews into social proof messaging, retailers can nudge customers to add to basket, safe in the knowledge that they’ve made a good buying decision. Messages might include fit advice, such as 94% of customers say this runs large, or impressions of quality, such as 90% of customers rate this 4 stars for quality.  

It means customers can be sure they are getting the value and quality they are after, while retailers can maximise the back-to-school sales opportunity. And that definitely deserves top marks.

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