Back to School & the Ripple Effect of Amazon Prime

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Sun, freedom, the great outdoors. Maybe a little Xbox. Wall-to-wall cartoons. FREEDOM.

One thing’s certain about the carefree days of Summer – however you spent yours, the chances are the family shopped on Amazon. Especially with the arrival of Prime. Not just making those deliveries quicker than ever, but throwing in a load of free TV and music to fill those long Summer days.

Prime has now well and truly arrived. If you don’t believe me, just look at the results of Amazon’s second member-only Prime Day last month, which turned out to be its biggest sales day ever, and overall 60 per cent up on last year.

What does this all mean for the Back to School season?

Second Only to Christmas

To start with, Back to School is well known as a highly active shopping period. In fact, 17% of the whole year’s spend takes place in these few weeks. That amounts to a whopping $65bn in ecommerce sales overall – up 15% in 2016, says research firm eMarketer.

That 70% of total Q3 spending means just one thing: more people signing up for Amazon’s Prime service, if they haven’t already, as we outlined in our previous post.

eCommerce School

From the best laptops for freshmen, to the most fun rucksacksfor starting elementary, you can tell Amazon is all over Back to School this year. You can even trade in old textbooks. It’s hard to imagine a bricks and mortar store being able to cover so many different bases under one virtual roof.

And if specially curated lists, landing pages and discounts weren’t enough, there are now also six month trial Prime memberships for students – possibly the clearest sign yet of the importance Amazon is placing on building its membership.

People Make Trends

Of course, it’s the public, not retailers who ultimately make trends. And it’s down to them whether Amazon’s efforts will mean Back to School 2016 goes truly digital. But all the signs seem positive, not least the US Commerce Department’s announcement that Q2 marked the biggest increase for ecommerce in nearly two years.

And while we’re at it, here’s a suggestion of my own. What about Back to Work for adults as a new trend to add into the mix for 2016? It’s about time someone tapped into this as a very real opportunity. All we need is some research correlating briefcases and the relative career success they bring. It’ll be huge on Linkedin, I guarantee it.

Second only to the Winter holiday season in terms of sales, for marketers and advertisers alike, the Back to School season is changing Summer from a relative tumbleweed season, to a data-fuelled party.

According to the NRF, this year will still see only 46% of Back to School shoppers buy online. For Back to College the number is even less. We might be living in a bubble here, but given the offers, the convenience and the choice online, the numbers still seems ridiculously low.

If anything has the chance to flip the scale, it’s ambitious, mass-market schemes like Prime.

If nothing else, they free up more Summer for sun, outdoors, Xbox, cartoons. You name it.

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