As a major office store so accurately suggested in a TV ad a few years ago, it's back to school season … the most wonderful time of year for parents everywhere.

But before the kids are back on the bus, crowded into classrooms and discovering all new reasons to whine and complain, parents have to engage in the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping.

While many parents look at back-to-school shopping as rituals in frustration, they are important drivers of revenue for companies and brands. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey, the average family with children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will spend more than $669 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from the nearly $635 average last year.

Total spending on back to school will drop slightly to $26.5 billion because the survey found there are slightly fewer students in households this summer.

So what do marketers need to know?

Going Mobile

It should come as no surprise to any digital marketer that mobile devices will play important roles. According to data from Retale, a location-based shopping platform, 73 percent of parents who own mobile devices will use them for back-to-school shopping.

Pat Dermody, president of Retale, noted that customers are using mobile in a myriad of ways, both in-store and out-of-store — from finding store locations to seeking deals and savings.

Learning Opportunities

"What that means for retailers is that they must continue to move aggressively to develop a meaningful presence at multiple points in mobile all of which might be accessed at any time by a potential customer,” he said.

Retale recently polled 1,000 parents with school-aged children in grades K through 12. Here's what it found, visualized by CMSWire's Jackie Jordan.