By Chris Curtin, Chief Brand and Innovation Marketing Officer, Visa
The first bell of the new school year is still more than a month away, but for retailers, Back-to-School shopping season is in full swing. And this year, the opportunity for businesses selling school-year supplies is bigger than ever before. According to eMarketer, Back-to-School sales are projected to reach a significant estimated $857.18 billion in 2017, topping last year’s record by four percent.
Brick-and-mortar stores may still rule the season, but online sales are growing at a rapid clip. In fact, eMarketer expects Back-to-School e-commerce sales to increase nearly 15 percent this year to $74.03 billion.
At Visa, we’re witnessing this rise firsthand. During last year’s Back-to-School shopping season – from July through September – our data revealed that growth in online shopping outpaced in-store growth. In apparel, for example, digital spend increased by 34 percent from 2015 to 2016 over that same three-month window, whereas card-in-hand spend actually decreased by 0.4 percent. In retail overall, digital spend increased 12 percent, while card-in-hand spend only grew by 4 percent.1
As Back-to-School shopping increasingly moves online, it’s up to retailers to make sure their customers are set up for success every step of the way, from browsing to the point of sale. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers visit an average of three websites during their Back-to-School shopping journeys. In a competitive shopping season, it’s critically important that retailers deliver seamless customer experiences – on every device – that minimize cart abandonment and increase conversion rates.
As a simple payment solution for merchants and shoppers, Visa Checkout helps ensure that shoppers spend less time entering credit card numbers and billing information and more time browsing for the items they need. It speeds up the checkout process, ultimately turning satisfied online shoppers into repeat buyers.
As the Back-to-School trends show, young, digital-savvy consumers will continue to expect more from their online experiences. By offering a more convenient way to pay online, Visa Checkout helps retailers make the grade.