It’s Nearly Time to Go Back to School…

Almost as soon as we arrived back from holiday the kids minds turned to the pending return to school. As I write this we still have 2 weeks of summer holiday left, so it feels a bit premature to be thinking about school. And yet there always seems so much to prepare for: new blazers, new shoes, new PE kit, and a whole new ‘uniform’ for sixth form (assuming the GCSE results come good). We also need to check the state of bags and pencil case contents, and work out whether new course books are worth buying or not. On top of all that is the feeling that surely I can rustle up some better lunch options than tuna or ham sandwiches?! Or maybe it’s about restoring healthy eating habits after a summer of ice creams and milkshakes?


So the run up to the return to school has a lot to keep shoppers busy, and it is likely that timely ‘solutions’ cross selling will hit the mark. WHSmith are an obvious place for stationery needs, and do a good job of using linksaves to increase basket size. And for many of our food and drink clients the lunchbox has been a regular matter for debate. Should I range my brand amongst lunchboxes, or in the main aisle or both? How can I get my brand on the lunchbox shopping list? Is pester power more influential than a gate-keeper based message? Which health message will resonate with this audience?


In our experience the return to school does trigger something of a reset in shoppers minds, particularly those looking to re-invigorate the lunchboxes they give to their kids every day. As parents we all know how easy it is to get into a rut – for a start it takes some of the pressure off if you stick to tried and tested combinations that you know will be eaten. That can be just as true for healthy options as it can for mainstream lunchbox items.  And habitual purchasing / consumption makes for easy shopping trips, you can almost grab the product without thinking. But if like me, the UK’s parents have spent part of the summer seeing their kids tuck into all sorts of different foods at a holiday location abroad, it feels wrong to go back to same-old-same-old. Which means looking at the options instore with as fresh eyes as can be found, and that’s not an easy job.


This is where good POS or fixture layouts can really come into their own. By drawing attention to the options and ideas that are instore – whether through a lunchbox fixture, strong signage that catches attention or communicates the key health benefits, or linksave promotions – shoppers can more easily access new ideas. Perhaps even flagging up international food options to build on the successes of those holiday menus abroad. It’s all about making it as easy to explore the options as possible, rather than leaving shoppers to search high and low. At the same time forgotten favourites might be spotted and restored into the shopping list. If the kids then enjoy what they are being given, new routines and habits emerge.


It’s all too easy for today’s shoppers to become blinkered to the wealth of options instore. After all, if we really took the time to shop every option we’d be in the supermarket for days! So think about how you can use the back to school period as a reset for your brand. Make the most of a great opportunity – it might even distract you from the thought that the next holiday is so far away!