Tag: back to school

By Manda Banda for Intelligent CIO

SA-based stationery retailer Bidvest Waltons and payments platform Karri have partnered to ensure a safe, simple and convenient Back-to-School experience for South Africans.

The partnership paves way for parents to purchase their Waltons stationery packs securely through the Nedbank powered Karri app.

Back-to-School stationery shopping was established by Bidvest Walton nearly 30 years ago, partnering with schools to give parents a simple and convenient purchasing solution for their children’s stationery needs.

Today, the iconic ‘Back-to-School Box’ is a household favourite for many South African families. Parents are able to order the traditional way by using printed order forms, through the Back-to-School e-commerce platform (backtoschool.co.za) or at any one of Bidvest Walton’s 53 retail stores.

Karri has created a cash-free school environment and has alleviated the administrative burden and safety concerns of schools to manually collect cash.

Parents are now able to buy their stationery packs directly through the Karri App in mere seconds.

The app also eliminates the administrative burden on schools, of handing out catalogues and order forms, collecting orders and handling cash.

Olivia Rungasamy, National Schools Manager, Bidvest Waltons, said: “We always aim to simplify our customer purchasing experience and we are excited by what this innovative partnership with Karri affords our partner schools, parents and learners. It solves the all-time hassle of buying Back-to-School stationery. We have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that their Back-to-School shopping experience is safer and more convenient now and long into the future.”

Douglas Hoernle, CEO, Karri said the changes to the school terms as a result of the pandemic has put a lot of pressure on everyone.

“We are in the fortunate position of being able to do our bit to take away some of the administration that would otherwise take away from valuable teaching time,” said Hoernle.

CNA pins hopes on 2021 BTS

According to a recent BusinessLive article, CEO of CNA, Benjamin Trisk, “only expects a recovery for the stationery business when back-to-school shopping starts in 2021”.

Edcon bought CNA for R141-million in 2002; it sold it for R1 to Astoria Investments in February.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the five-week nationwide lockdown, consumer spend is under pressure on the back of a weak economy and a rise in retrenchments.

Growing digital platforms are selling competing products, often at better prices.

Trisk believes an improvement in CNA sales would come when consumers returned to shops. Foot traffic at the larger malls remains down, though some mall owners say while shopping fewer times a month, customers are buying more each time.

Trisk has reiterated his plans to revive CNA by:

  • Improving the retailer’s book selection and adding more local African literature and books in local languages
  • Improving the signage, curation and display in-store
  • Cutting CNA product lines
  • Removing chocolates, snacks, and tech products including laptops, cellphones and chargers

Post-lockdown back to school chaos

Source: IOL

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has affirmed that pupils will return to school on June 8, next Monday.

The minister also apologised to the South African public after days of confusion about the reopening of schools.

Motshekga’s department had also postponed press conferences since Friday, which were expected to outline the department’s final pronouncement on the matter of schools reopening after teacher unions and many in the public had slammed the department’s plans to forge ahead with continuing with the 2020 academic year.

Motshekga stressed that any further delay to the school year would pose a serious threat to the academic year. She also said that continued postponement of continuing with the school year would impact negatively on poor pupils, especially, as they would be expected to write the same exam with everyone else.

This means that next Monday, June 8, all Grade 7 and 12 pupils are expected back to school.

A joint survey conducted by South Africa’s teacher unions showed that no more than 55% of principals reported being ready to resume teaching and learning when schools open on Monday.

The results of the survey, which was conducted to strengthen the collaboration between the Basic Education Department and unions who share the goal of ensuring that schools are safe for teachers and learners to return, fiound that in terms of provision of face masks, all provinces scored below 25 percent except Western Cape which scored 84 percent.

The leaked survey concluded that some challenges are common across as many as six provinces, such as:

  • Inadequate water for Covid-19 requirements (6 provinces)
  • Water tanks that are required not yet delivered (6 provinces)
  • Insufficient masks delivered (two per person) (8 provinces)

Last-minute BTS shopping has parents fuming

By Kgomotso Modise for EWN

Many parents said that they only received confirmation from the Education Department on where their children had been placed on Tuesday morning.

As parents who left their back to school shopping to the very last minute flocked to uniform and stationery shops last Tuesday afternoon, many blamed the Education Department for the situation.

Government schools reopen last Wednesday for the 2020 academic year.

The queue to get into the schoolwear shop in Booysens was lengthy, with parents streaming in. The store is the go-to shop for schools in the south.

Many of the parents said that they only received confirmation from the Education Department on where their children had been placed the morning before school started.

“I was expecting the other school to take him then he was taken by this school that I don’t like, so that’s the reason why I had to do the last minute shopping because I didn’t know which uniform to buy.”

One woman said that the last-minute changes in her family had brought her here.

“Having to move from one area to another area. I only found out that my daughter was accepted at the school at 12pm [on Tuesday].”

Some parents abandoned their bid for new school uniforms because of the long queues, saying they would try again.

Local parents compare BTS stationery prices

Two local parents have compared eight well-known South African retailers to find the most affordable stationery.

The parents sent their findings to the Parent24 website.

In the first table, reader Keith bases his information on promotional BTS leaflets and retailer websites.

In the second table, reader Jacky compared leading retailers, with the green indicating the cheapest option. Asterisks illustrate where prices were not available at the time of publishing.

Source: Cape Talk

Stationery supplier Bidvest Waltons has responded to service complaints from Cape Town parents who did not get their back-to-school orders on time.

Some parents complained about failed deliveries, lack of communication and poor customer service.

Tessa Dowling, Cynthia Makwenyaa and Andrew Williams were among those affected by the delays.

They all described to consumer journalist Wendy Knowler how the stationery supplier had no boxes prepared despite their preorders.

When they arrived to collect the stationery sets, boxes were not labelled and many parents had to wait hours or return later for assistance.

Waltons says it will refund orders that were paid for but not received by customers.

Knowler says parents should use their collective power to push schools to review their agreements with stationery suppliers that don’t deliver.

If a school recommends a system that doesn’t deliver and fails to communicate, it’s up to the parents [to ask the schools] about what pressure they are putting on the service provider to up their game.

Below is the statement consumer journalist Wendy Knowler received from Waltons:

“We accept and sincerely regret the frustrations suffered by this customer but unfortunately, we do sometimes have glitches in a logistics operation of this nature and magnitude of the back to school one. While the issue is now resolved, we have also contacted our customer to apologise for the poor experience.

We assure you that we are committed to resolving all issues brought to our attention. To this end we have a dedicated mail address for customers to communicate with us which enables us to personally deal with queries:

bts2019@cape.waltons.co.za

In addition to our normal planning for this important part of our business which starts after the end of the current season, we review any issues which arose during the last season and also share experiences with other regions in order to continuously improve our service levels. Should any boxes or items not have been received but been paid for, we would obviously refund these amounts.

We are very proud of our involvement over so many decades in the back to school market and would thus like to express our thanks to all our customers for their continued support. We try to learn and so get better every year.

Thank you too for bringing this matter to our attention as any service let down is not acceptable to us.”

Make school stationery last

Source: Jacaranda FM

It’s back to school which means parents are expected to buy a list of school stationery as long as their arm for their kids.
Stationery can be costly and because of that, it needs to last. These tips below will help you ensure that your child’s school stationery lasts longer and will save you some money.

Buy good quality stationery
Good quality products last longer. Avoid buying things just because they are cheaper. It’s better to invest in quality stationery than finding yourself having to buy more stationery during the year, which might turn out to be costlier.

Remember to compare prices from different stores. You might get good quality products for less by comparing prices.

Organise your stationery
There is nothing worse than coming home to find your child’s stationery scattered all over the floor or in multiple rooms. Not only does this make your house untidy, but it can also result in your child losing some of the stationery. So, teach your children how to organise their stationery and to pack it away tidily.

Make a list
Keeping track of the stationery will ensure that your child doesn’t lose items without realising it. Set aside time for them either daily, or weekly where they check the list and ensure they haven’t lost anything

Ensure your child’s stationery is marked
Children often misplace or get their stationery mixed up. Marking your child’s stationery will ensure that they can easily identify it.

Buy a big enough school bag and space case
If your child’s school bag or space case is too small, they might end up damaging their stationery. Buy a big enough school bag that has the compartments they need for different items. Also get a space case so that they can pack all their stationery in one place.

Take proper care of stationery
Teach your children to handle their stationery with care. This means teaching them the importance of replacing tops on pens and markers, replacing the top on their glue sticks and keeping crayons and colouring pencils packed in the box.

By Devon Koen for Herald Live

While nothing signals the end of the festive season more than the onslaught of back-to school advertising and with parents feeling the financial pinch after splurging over the past two weeks, The Herald conducted a flash price comparison on a number of school supplies.

With most retail shops dropping the price of school stationery staples drastically this week before the first term starts, items on the shelves at selected shops may change in the coming days.

Major shops visited this week included Pick n Pay Hypermarket at William Moffett Park, Game The Bridge, and Shoprite and Checkers Hyper at Greenacres.

All the shops visited have specials on various school stationery items, including those listed.

Eight generic items have been selected which are listed on most schools’ stationery supply lists issued to parents.

While you can expect to pay more than R200 for the items priced, Shoprite shows a marginally cheaper offering with a basket full of basic stationery adding up to R208.42, while the most pricey of the shops is Game at R255.92.

Below is a breakdown of the selected items and their pricing at the various retailers:

Staedtler HB Tradition pencils (3 pack)

  • Pick n Pay – R13,95
  • Shoprite – R14,99
  • Checkers – R28,99
  • Game – R14,99

Pritt glue stick (43g)

  • Pick n Pay – R35,95
  • Shoprite – R29,99
  • Checkers – R42,99
  • Game – R38,99

Butterfly A4 pocket file (30 pages)

  • Pick n Pay – R20,95
  • Shoprite – R32,99
  • Checkers – R21,99
  • Game – R22,99

Staedtler retractable wax crayons (12 pack)

  • Pick n Pay – R32,95
  • Shoprite – R33,99
  • Checkers – R33,99
  • Game – R38,99

A4 Office Paper White (500)

  • Pick n Pay – R61,99 (Rototrim)
  • Shoprite – R52,99 (Typek)
  • Checkers – R52,99 (Typek)
  • Game – R64,00 (Typek)

BIC ballpoint pens

  • Pick n Pay – R21,95 (3+2 free)
  • Shoprite – R13,99 (3 pack)
  • Checkers – R15,99 (3 pack)
  • Game – R20,98 (4+3 free)

Staedtler colour pencils (12)

  • Pick n Pay – R18,95
  • Shoprite – R18,99
  • Checkers – R18,99
  • Game – R41,99

A4 hardcover books (each)

  • Pick n Pay – R10,95
  • Shoprite – R10,49
  • Checkers – R11,99
  • Game – R12,99

By Daniela Forte for MultiChannel Merchant 

Back-to-school spending in the United States is projected to reach $27.6-billion this year or $510 per household, up slightly from $501 in 2017, according to data from Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey.

The use of desktops and laptops is expected to lose share, with 49% of respondents this year saying they planned to do so, down from 53% in 2017, while mobile is projected to increase from 49% to 53%. In-store shopping is expected to be the preferred channel during back to school, representing $15.7 in total sales. The average spend for in-store purchases is projected at $292.

Clothing and accessories are expected to dominate at $15.1 billion in sales, followed by school supplies ($6 billion), computers and hardware ($3.7 billion) and electronic gadgets ($2.8 billion).

While demand and average spend is high for clothing and accessories at $286, the highest average planned spend for computers and hardware is slightly higher, at $299.

The survey revealed that children will likely influence over $21 billion in back-to-school spending, with 80% having a moderate-to-high influence in clothing and accessory purchases.

Online back-to-school shopping will be $6.3 billion, according to Deloitte, at an average spend of $115. Those undecided about which channel to shop in are expected to spend $5.5 billion, with an average spend of $104.

“The amount people plan to spend and tendency to shop in physical stores for back-to-school are consistent with last year, but retailers need to act fast for that $5.5 billion wild card,” says Rod Sides, VC for Deloitte LLP, and U.S. Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Leader, in a press release. “In just one year, previously undecided dollars have shifted dramatically by product category.”

Sides said, for example in 2017, 30% of people said they hadn’t decided if they would purchase computers online or in-store and that number shrunk 20% this year, most of it going online. In electronics, undecided spending dropped 10 percentage points, moving primarily into the stores.

Mass merchants are once again the most popular type of back-to-school retailer, cited by 83% of survey respondents, while price-based retailers (38%) and pure-play e-commerce sellers (36%) aren’t nearly as popular.

Shopping activity is expected to peak by early August, with about 90% of shoppers active from late July to early August, accounting for 66% of all sales. By period, shoppers are expected to spend $9.9 billion in the first two weeks of August and $8.1 billion in late July.

Parents who begin their shopping in July are likely to spend 20% more than late starters, Deloitte found. Early shoppers are more deal-seeking (40% vs. 27%) and mobile-savvy (55% vs. 50%) compared to late shoppers. They’re also bigger spenders, at an average outlay of $544, compared to $455 for later shoppers.

This year customers expect online and physical shopping experiences to be complementary. Fifty-six percent said they plan to research online before making in-store purchases, while 52% said they would purchase from online retailers who offer free shipping.

Less than 25% of respondents said they were likely to use social media during back-to-school season. Of those so inclined, finding promotions (cited by 63%) or coupons (59%) and browsing products (44%) were listed as their primary objectives.

Source: Business Wire 

Staples, the back-to-school specialty store, commissioned a recent survey, with parenting authority Fatherly, that discovered 85 percent of parents and 83 percent of children prefer to shop in-store during the back-to-school season. To help accommodate shoppers, most of whom find it important to interact with products before purchasing, Staples’ dedicated in-store specialists make the annual shopping trip as convenient, efficient and fun as possible.

“Staples plays a proud role in millions of families and teachers’ annual back-to-school shopping trips and we are excited to deliver a one-of-a-kind Staples in-store shopping experience,” says Amy Lang, Vice President, Store Experience, Staples. “As the Back to School authority, our store associates are eager to help parents get their children everything they need on their school lists to ensure a successful school year.”

The survey also revealed that the back-to-school shopping season is a way for parents to spend quality time with their children. More than 90 percent of parents surveyed said they allow their children to get involved in the aisles by having them read the lists aloud, and encouraging them to pick out their favorite colors and designs for the supplies they need.

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