Whether running child care or enrichment programs, an expanded digital experience is essential. As highlighted in the 2022 After School Report, community members work, communicate, and shop through digital channels. They’re becoming tech-savvy and thus, have high expectations for online experiences.

Additionally, schedules for parents and adults continue to become more and more fluid. This trend leaves their free time (to register for after school programs) dispersed throughout all hours of the day. As a result, it has become more critical than ever to make program registration and account management accessible 24/7.

So let's look at some numbers driving these high digital expectations from your community. Then, we'll examine a few steps programs can take to increase the quality and accessibility of their digital experience.

Digital Habits of the 24/7 Parent

We looked at all checkout data on the Eleyo platform for 2021 to learn more about the after school consumer. Here’s what we found:

The average after school consumer at a glance:

When we examine these trends further, we see a direct correlation to your community members registering for your programs.

Standard business hours = 8a — 4p

These numbers reflect an increased desire by your community for high-quality digital experiences in every facet of being a consumer. When executed well, digital provides after school programs the ability to create intelligent, seamless experiences across all interactions to forge long-lasting relationships with community members.

20 Minutes to Spare

In previous discussions about the 24/7 parent, we uncover how the average parent has a mere 20 minutes of free time in their day. Whether it’s squeezing in a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or taking a few minutes to themselves, parents have to be very deliberate with their time. Programs with simple registration and payment options help them accomplish another task.

Families are busier than ever, making a consistent, streamlined digital experience less an elective and more a necessity. It’s a way for them to complete just one of their many to-do items, and it’s an important value add to any communities’ programs. — Steve Novotny, Co-Founder & CEO, Eleyo


Focusing on Checkout

We’ve outlined the importance of an expanded digital experience, so how can organizations help tie their experience to revenue? Let’s look at a specific element of digital experience — checkout.

As digital experiences across industries continue to grow and become refined, we’re zeroing in on a specific area of the digital experience, checkout. According to McKinsey & Company’s New trends in US consumer digital payments report:

82% of Americans used digital payments — defined to include browser-based or in-app online purchases, in-store checkout using a mobile phone, and person-to-person (P2P) payments — in 2021. This exceeds last year’s 78% and the 72% five years ago.

If you already offer online registration and payments, you are off to a great start. However, there are some opportunities to fine-tune! Specifically, there are significant opportunities in speed (pre-populated data fields), consistency, and accuracy.

According to How to Design a Better Checkout Experience, by Freddie Vitale with Victoria Harrison, it’s believed that by 2023, 91% of the American population will be considered online shoppers. But, these 300 million digital customers have an unfortunate tendency to abandon their carts almost 70% of the time, leading to lost revenue and opportunity.

We’ve talked about top form and checkout features in the past. The good news? The principles haven’t changed, and they all apply to digital experience as a whole. You can see some registration form usability best practices outlined in last year's 2021 After School Report.

It's Time to Expand Digital Experience

The digital experience in the after school industry has many layers. On one side of the spectrum, many programs operate a solely paper-based model, handling payments and registrations offline.

Regardless of where your program is when it comes to the digital experience, we're here to help! Hopefully, we emphasized the importance of digital for your after-school program. And if you're excited to learn more about how your program's digital experience can have a more positive impact on your community, check out Eleyo's 2022 After School Report.