Keith Jelinek, Rick Maicki, Darren Morrison, and Frank Jones write that the back-to-school season (BTS) is a critically important selling period—and an opportunity for retailers to reconnect with shoppers before entering the holiday season. COVID has written a new script for schools and businesses in 2021. Consumers have adjusted in significant ways during the crisis since early 2020. Last year, we experienced extensive school closures and education taking a dramatic turn to ‘Zoom’ learning, along with businesses shifting to a work-from-home model that in many cases has become the new norm. Schools are set to reopen in 2021, but the rise in COVID cases in many parts of the country could impact how consumers shop for BTS and back-to-office.

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