The benefits of offering parents the choice to buy online

The growth of online shopping is jaw-dropping. Research suggests that almost 80% of people in Europe have made at least one purchase online in the last 12 months.

And the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have only fanned the flames. The United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March 2020 as consumers switched to online purchasing.

But when it comes to buying branded school supplies, for many customers the only option is still to visit a local retailer or school shop. Here we share some of the fantastic benefits giving parents an online option can bring.

24-hour opening times

You could say that it’s the most obvious reason many of us choose (or end up) shopping online. The fact there’s no opening or closing hours for buying online means it’s very attractive to those of us juggling several demands on our time.

For busy parents balancing work and childcare, offering them the option to order their child school uniform from the comfort of their sofa or on-the-go via their smartphone can be extremely helpful.

Safe shopping

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the gradual shift to more online shopping. As the first lockdown took hold, with ‘non-essential’ stores closed for business, many retailers big and small had to adapt their offer and improve their online presence in order to survive.

It isn’t just non-essentials that we’ve been buying online either. Supermarkets have seen a huge rise in online custom as people have sought to avoid unnecessary trips out of their homes. Online grocery sales grew by 33% in 2020, with three-quarters of us now doing at least some of our food shopping through the internet.

Although the official advice for the elderly or those with underlying health conditions to shield hasn’t been reintroduced in the second lockdown or under the tier system, many people (healthy or otherwise) still want to avoid risk where possible. Offering an online school option allows those in families with people who are more at risk to buy what they need from the safety and comfort of their own home.

A choice of ways to pay

In the early days of online shopping, one of the biggest put-offs for consumers was concern about how safe it was to enter their card information online. Years later, and that fear has subsided dramatically, with many banks now providing extra layers of digital security so we can shop with confidence.

It’s not only the safety of paying online that’s improved but ways to pay too.

Klarna is a financial technology service which offers consumers interest-free, ‘buy now, pay later’ options. The brand has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, with over seven million UK shoppers having paid using it by February 2020.

Customers can choose to either break their total spend into three more manageable instalments, or pay 30 days later. The company performs a soft search on a user’s credit file to determine whether to lend or not.

One of the main reasons it’s so popular when it comes to buying clothes is because it allows shoppers to try them on and return any items that don’t fit or suit them without them spending their own money up front then having to wait for a refund.

PayPal has also introduced a similar instalment option for their users, subject to a credit check.

Via the main Trutex site, customers have a broad choice of ways to pay, including by debit or credit card, PayPal and Klarna.

Straight to their door

It may seem obvious but it comes back to our first point – for time-poor people having their items delivered is a weight off their busy shoulders.

Many delivery services have reacted to the shift to online by giving customers the option to divert parcels, have them left with a neighbour or put in a safe place, so no longer is ‘being in’ a barrier to buying online.

A consideration for any online school option is to also offer a ‘click and collect’ service, which saves on postage costs while giving parents the ability to pick up items at their convenience, without having to wait around.

Know what to stock and when

One of the huge advantages online retailers have over traditional bricks and mortar is the data they collect from customers and web traffic. They know what people are looking at and when, and can compare more information that just takings and stock levels.

They also have the ability to be able to upsell and cross sell more easily, offering ‘one-click’ bundles, ‘complete the look’ or ‘other customers also liked…’ additions to the page. Making the process much easier for customers.

Get in touch

We work with schools in the UK and Europe who want to make life easier for their student’s parents. If you think your school would benefit from an online uniform option we can help.