Accepting plastic is essential during back-to-school shopping season
July 25, 2013

Even though the economy is improving at a slow pace, American shoppers are ready for higher prices during back-to-school shopping season this year. Small and medium-sized businesses tend to see increased sales right before kids return to the classroom, and investing in credit card processing is crucial as more parents increase their spending. SMBs may even see increased participation in their loyalty and gift card program as consumers look to save money where they can by using coupons and cashing in loyalty points. Investing in methods to accept checks and plastic payments is important to boosting revenue during the back-to-school season.

Shopping budgets rise in preparation for higher prices
According to the "2013 Back-to-School" shopping survey by PriceGrabber, a retail site, the majority of consumers plan to increase their spending this year to ensure their children have the items they need for school. The site received 2,191 responses to its online survey, with 69 percent of participants reporting they will spend between $500 and $1,000 this year on back-to-school shopping. The number of consumers in this price range has been steadily increasing over the past two years; in 2012, 63 percent said they would be within the $500 and $1,000 range, while 48 percent said the same in 2011.

The reason for this increase is mainly due to price hikes from manufacturers, with USA Today reporting school supply prices rose an average 7.3 percent this year.

Rojeh Avanesian, senior vice president of marketing and sales for PriceGrabber, said shoppers are choosing to utilize coupons and other cost-cutting methods to keep their spending low, but won't skimp on basics like pens, notebooks and clothes.

"The outlook for the back-to-school shopping season remains positive," Avanesian said. "With [the] unemployment rate dropping from 8.2 percent in June 2012 to its current rate of 7.6 percent, shoppers are more inclined to spend than they were in the last couple of back-to-school seasons."

With shoppers looking to spend more, it is vital that SMBs provide multiple payment options at the point of sale. Many consumers prefer to utilize plastic payments because they provide shoppers financial security as well as the ability to spend more. Customers often feel uneasy walking into a store with hundreds of dollars in cash in their pocket, so ensuring they have the option to use a debit or credit card is important during the back-to-school shopping season.

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