Amazon Prime Leaves Retailers Playing Back-To-School Shopping Catch-Up

Back-to-school shopping has started earlier than usual this year, and retailers have Amazon to thank. According to a report, shoppers took advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day to stock up on back-to-school supplies, which is leaving retailers playing catch-up if they want to cash in on what is a lucrative time of year for them.

Data provided to CNBC shows shoppers have been purchasing back-to-school supplies a month early, and retailers have to pick up their game in order to capitalize on the back-to-school shopping season. What’s more, the school supply shopping season isn’t lasting as long as years past.

“Back-to-school season is second only to holiday in terms of consumer spending,” Dani Cushion, chief marketing officer at Cardlytics, said in the report. “Retailers can take advantage of the increased traffic to enroll consumers in loyalty programs that will drive continued purchases year-round.”

Amazon Prime isn’t only resulting in people shopping for back to school sooner, but it’s red-hot success also underscores another trend that has been picking up: People are turning to online retailers to get their shopping done and are leaving traditional retailers in droves. The data shows that brick-and-mortar stores saw revenue during back to school fall 2.4 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. The number of purchases declined by 3.4 percent, while online-only stores saw a 14.5 percent increase in revenue and 18.9 percent more purchases last year.

Amazon’s growing dominance in the retail market is forcing traditional retailers to overhaul how they conduct business online. The company’s innovative streak — think drones as one example — has forced retailers to embrace technology as a way to lure customers in. In fact, Amazon is on track to become “America’s largest clothing retailer,” surpassing both Macy’s and Nordstrom in total sales, by 2017.


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