3 Hot Items to Buy Right Now to Boost Your Back to College Sales

The back to college shopping season is here and 2018 is expected to be another big year for spending, according to the annual back to college survey conducted by Deloitte. Here’s the top level summary: parents of college bound students are expected to spend $25.5 billion on back to campus shopping, split among popular categories like apparel and accessories, household goods, furniture, miscellaneous school supplies, electronics, and digital subscriptions. At the end of the day, Deloitte estimates that each family shopping for back to college items will spend an average of $1,330.

When you breakdown the numbers further, Deloitte goes on to indicate that roughly $4.2 billion will be spent on clothing and accessories. What does this mean for you? This means that there is huge potential to tap into this market and now is the time to do it. Why? Deloitte also suggests that according to survey respondents, the optimal shopping period for back to college purchases occurs between mid-July and mid-August. Hopefully you have been carefully planning for this major shopping period, but if not, it’s okay! There is still time for you to capitalize on the season with some strategic additions to your inventory (we’ll cover those shortly).

And don’t believe the myth that eCommerce is killing the brick and mortar business, especially in the clothing and accessories category. This survey shows that over 60% of shoppers plan to make their clothing and accessory purchases in-store versus online. This is a lot of information, but it all funnels down to 2 questions: What should you be selling and how should you be selling it?

Let’s tackle the first question. What are some hot items that you can add to your inventory right now to maximize your back to college shopping revenue? There’s a lot to focus on, but for the sake of time let’s highlight the top 3 items from The Mountain that can potentially boost your back to college shopping sales this season:

Dog is Love Hoodie Sweatshirt


This popular piece of apparel might as well be named the unofficial uniform of college kids. Hoodies are universally the easiest, most comfortable items of clothing to throw on in the morning when you’ve overslept and are running late for class. They are also multi-seasonal and multi-functional. If you are not selling hoodies, you are missing out on the back to college shoppers looking to add a couple of versatile yet stylish pieces to their wardrobe.


For years, The Mountain has been known for our high quality, ultra-durable 100% cotton t-shirt. This is a classic go-to style, but it may not be right for everyone. This is why we started offering some of our most popular art designs on a new, softer triblend t-shirt. These tees speak to the 20-something crowd seeking a comfortable tee with a unique personal twist. The designs are fun, bold, and expressive, but the tees are soft, light and fashionably cut. It’s a win-win. Appeal to the college crowd with these triblend tees. And the parents will love the quality they get for the price. Another win-win!

The Mountain Wholesale 15oz Ceramic Mugs


If an oversized coffee mug is not the ultimate college accessory, then what is? While apparel might be driving the spending in this category, don’t discount the potential in offering ceramic mugs during the back to college buying season. Especially when the mug is a Mountain Mug. Ever since launching our unique take on the classic coffee mug, we have received nothing but positive feedback about the quality of the print, the variety of available art, and the useful oversized design. Having a small display of ceramic mugs mixed in with the rest of your back to college focused inventory offers the perfect opportunity for an upsell or cross sell, depending on the consumer.

Now onto the second and somewhat more complex question. How can you effectively market these back to college items to capture the sale and potentially score a slew of returning customers (who will undoubtedly tell all of their friends with college-aged kids to visit your store because they found exactly what they needed, when they needed it)?        

Even though parents are the ones shelling out the money for back to college purchases, the Deloitte survey points out that a whopping 82% of parents plan to collaborate with their kids in order to get them college-ready. The fact that kids are heavily influencing their parents’ back to school purchases means double the marketing efforts are required by you. Parents focus on price, quality and longevity. Kids want to see style, differentiation and a product that speaks to their personal brand. This includes passions, interests, and hobbies. 

College aged kids are also more invested in brands that display social responsibility and environmental consciousness. According to this Nielson study, Millennials and Generation Z kids (ages 15-20) are known as the green generations and sustainability is a big shopping priority that motivates their spending habits. The Mountain is rooted in eco-friendly manufacturing methods and this green factor can be the difference in making the sale.

The bold art featured on all Mountain products is certainly enough of an attention grabber, but in order to really show off these items and draw in the shopper, you need to have high quality, attractive merchandising displays. We have several options available depending on your needs. If you are interested in learning more about these options, contact our dealer services team today.

If you are looking to capitalize on this year’s back to college shopping trends, now is the time to act. You can still stock up on popular Mountain apparel and accessories that speaks to both the parents spending their hard earned dollars and the college ready kids looking to stand out in a crowd. Not sure where to start. Call us for suggestions! We can help you select items that work for you and your customer.

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