As parents scurry to get their nearly 80 million kids outfitted for the first day of school, free shipping and m-commerce are moving to the top of their wish list.
Some 74% of parents responding to a recent PriceGrabber survey say free shipping is the biggest single incentive. Sales prices came in as second-most-popular, with 72%. And 37% say they will wield their smartphones while in stores, seeking out lower prices; 14% say they will likely actually make purchases using their phones.
In addition, 66% say they expect to respond to price cuts; 63% will scout out coupons; 43% will respond to online promotions, and 28% to both price matching and in-store-only promotions.
Retailers are looking for new ways to appeal to this shopping savvy. In addition to free shipping promotions, chosen by retailers like American Eagle Outfitters and JCPenney, some are using unexpected incentives. Kmart, for example -- a division of Sears -- is offering an additional 5% off layaway purchases for back-to-school (including online layaway), as well as coupons for free flu shot with purchases of $100 or more, and gas reward coupons.
The survey also queried shoppers on their preferred money-saving tactics, and found that comparison-shopping Web sites scored highest with 62%, 56% intend to hit discount, bargain and outlet stores. Half say they look around the house for things like pencils, pens and glue sticks before buying new ones; 49% say they will actually inventory kids’ closets to see which clothing items can make it another year.
To rein in impulse buying, 36% say they will make a list; 34% will visit store Web sites looking for coupons.
The survey is based on 4,450 U.S. online shopping consumers, with 1,509 of the respondents planning to shop this back-to-school season. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the 79 million people ages 3 and older enrolled in school throughout the country, including the 41% of those between 18 and 24 who are enrolled in college.