Properly merchandising your back-to-school items can not only make your store floor look inviting, it can increase sales.  Whether you’re a clothing retailer, a stationery or office supplies store or a home furnishings store, any school-worthy merchandise should be displayed right in the front of your space.  Hit customers when they come through the door.   If this isn’t feasible for bigger items, then have clear, bright signage that guides customers to the back-to-school display. 

In addition, have your “grab and go” items handy throughout the store, but especially at the check-out counter, so that people will actually grab last-minute items.  Often, if these items are small, but frequently needed, this is best place to merchandise them.  While many parents and children will shop for binders, backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes and clothing before the first school bus arrives, another large group will be pulling up to the store during the first two weeks of school.  These are the parents of older children, who do not receive their supply list until the classroom doors open.   Then, there’s a mad rush of pressured parents trying to find the exact marbled composition book or the back pack that will fit all of the students’ binders in it.

Knowing your audience at this time is crucial. If you want to keep them coming back with a rewarding shopping experience, have more help in the store in general, especially after 3:00 p.m.  People who can answer questions, direct traffic, check out customers are important.  Also, use strategic merchandising techniques that include three bins of pencils throughout the store instead of one, or three areas from which you can find back packs instead of just one. This cuts down on the crowds gathered around one gondola and allows more flexibility for customers throughout the store. 

Think about that back-to-school shopping experience of your own.  Was it pleasant?  Your customers will remember and share their experiences.