Changing Practices

IBIS World says the move toward e-commerce has led consumers to bypass retailers and the wholesalers supplying them. Additionally, brick-and-mortar retail sales have increasingly shifted towards big-box department and discount stores, which have used their purchasing power to source products directly from manufacturers. In the process, they’ve internalized distribution functions and eliminated industry wholesalers from the supply chain.

One retailer that’s made strides to outpace its competition? Target, which recently announced its introduction of next-day shipping, as well as its plan to simplify the shopping process with its School List Assist tool. The retailer has partnered with TeacherList.com to make nearly one million school supply lists directly available within the tool, so that parents can handily purchase all of their kids’ school supplies and have them sent to their home or prepared for pick up at their local Target store.

Consumer behavior may be a bit unpredictable, but the numbers don’t lie: timing is key in preparing for the back-to-school rush — and a little creativity in adjusting to evolving consumer demands doesn’t hurt.


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