Students Using Social Media for School Shopping

Marketing school products has taken a virtual direction with sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and others focusing their messages on young shoppers.  Advertising on cell phones and social networking sites is becoming more common.  Students can now see virtual dressing rooms right on their phones.  Apps, or applications, are the big thing now.  With them, companies can set up pages on Facebook and other sites to show off their product line. 

In a recent article in the Arizona Republic, Staples Inc. spokeswoman Karen Pevenstein stated that virtual retailing is big business. “It’s the best way to reach teens.”  This same article cited that “Young shoppers are expected to spend more than $200 billion of their own and parents’ money this year, making them one of the retailers’ most sought-after demographic groups.”

According to ABC News, the latest trend is to post haul videos.  “A new phenomenon called haul videos means they can show off their purchases to the whole world. There are more than 110,000 haul videos currently on YouTube, and some videos are racking up tens of millions of views. Hauls are short product review videos. The “vlogger,” or video blogger, shows off her goods, gushing about everything from lip gloss to flip flops and gives her opinion on the quality of the products. Haul videos are the perfect marriage of two of Generation Y’s favorite things: technology and shopping”

It is not just teens and tweens students that have the retailer’s focus.  This year it is anticipated that $34 billion of the estimated $55 billion in back-to-school spending will collected from college students and their parents.  The Arizona Republic reported, “To reach that market, retailer Target Corp. has added a “college” tab to its Facebook page with coupons, supplies, checklists and sharable cellphone apps to help students determine how to furnish their dorm rooms or apartments and manage shared bills and chores with roommates.