One-stop shop for college


Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group said that back-to-college has become a big opportunity for retailers, and everybody wants part of the business. Last year, families spent an average of $800 on back-to-college products.

Once students get to school, they have less time and fewer opportunities to shop, so drug stores become their one-stop destination. “Drug stores can really capitalize on their convenience advantage with this demographic,” James said. “They can become as much of a solution store as possible, offering everything from electronic accessories and dorm decor to personal care products and grocery items. If these shoppers are already in the store and the products are merchandised well, they’ll buy,” he said. 

For stores in close proximity to campus, a good selection of electronic accessories is key. Smartphone accessories, headphones, and computer and printer accessories are as important as paper, pens and pencils. Some chains also layer in promotional lamps, pillows and throw rugs, as well as space-savers and closet organizers.

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