10 Aug 2017

Retail is key for Back to School

Worth £2.06 billion in 2016, the stationery market is set to grow by £49.1 million each year up to 2021. There’s a huge market for stationery in the UK, especially as we head towards the all-important ‘back to school’ period where students will be stocking up on their supplies for the start of the new school year.

What makes the stationery category particularly interesting at this time of year is that only 9.7 per cent of products are purchased online. With the vast majority of products being purchased in a physical retail store, it’s clear for brands that their in-store execution is absolutely key.

In a category with many well-known names, it’s important for brands to stand out from their competitors in store. The majority of stationery products are impulse buys, and therefore it is essential that they are merchandised effectively with their price, features, and any special offers clearly visible. Consumers will be looking for the right product for them, but also at the right price. As such, having a presence which stands out from the crowd will increase your brand’s market share. This is especially true in unassisted sales environments, such as grocery superstores, where grabbing the shopper’s attention and communicating any promotional messaging is imperative.

To some extent the same also applies to the premium sector, where purchases are more ‘considered’ due to their higher price point. However, products in this category are more likely to be found in an assisted sales environment where speaking to the store staff is a key part of the sales process. Such purchases are likely to be gifts and on display in secure cabinets, necessitating a shopper/member of staff interaction. Consumers will want to be reassured that it is the right product for them, as well as handling and trying out the product. In these instances, brands can facilitate the customer experience by supporting the store with, say, product training to give store staff the ability to talk about the product range with confidence. Moreover, creating brand advocates among store staff will encourage them to recommend your product to interested shoppers.

With interest in stationery only set to increase over back to school and peak, all brand should be considering their in-store execution, and asking how best they can increase their share of these sales.