The ‘Back to School’ niche is a red hot multi-million pound market - don’t leave it too late to meet online demand
If you are a parent, you probably glanced at my heading above and did a double take! Back to school? It’s June – the summer holidays haven’t even started yet, what on earth is she talking about? I haven’t gone mad. I haven’t got my dates muddled up. I won’t be celebrating Christmas in July (although I will be researching products for the festive season then). No, it’s all perfectly straightforward and logical…
This week I want to give you some tips about the ‘Back To School’ market because this is a hot niche and it’s very important that if you want to profit from it, you get to grips with it early. And early means before the school holidays kick in.
I recently researched this niche exclusively for members of The Source Report and provided members with a hot product in this niche, along with a supplier and a full profit calculation which equated to a potential £4.43 net profit per item sold (on stock that cost £3.73 in the first place!). My findings included the fact that online searches for this item – and other ‘school uniform’ items in particular start rising very rapidly from June onwards – and this is the very reason why you should be prepared now.
Now, I don’t know if it’s true that school days really are the best days of our lives, but schooling is something that the vast majority of people within the UK must go through! Several million children are currently in some form of education in this country and there is a yearly requirement for new uniforms, items of stationary, textbooks and much, much more for those several million.
It’s fair to say that you might be thinking that the ‘back to school’ niche is far too competitive for you to try and get a foot in the door, but actually it’s not as competitive as you might think. Because most income within this market area happens in a short space of time – June to September – many sellers simply avoid it and instead choose niches that they think will bring in an income all the year round. However, in my opinion ‘school supplies’ are not seasonal items like paddling pools or Christmas decorations are, they do in fact sell year round although there are definite peaks and troughs.
It’s really important to diversify the different areas that you sell into to manage those natural highs and lows that you’ll face throughout the year and ‘Back to School supplies’ could be just the ticket to really maximise your own income for those few months of the year. There are a host of advantages to selling in this niche:
The Volume of customers
The UK boasts an incredibly high percentage of children who go through the school process. We’ve all seen the news stories about students dropping out and the like, but in general you’ll find that almost all kids do currently stay in school until the required age of 16, (rising to age 18 for those born after 1st September 1997) with many continuing on to sixth form or college.
So, firstly, assuming a child starts school at the age of 4 or 5 and remains in education until they are 18, this equates to 13 or 14 individual school years, each with new requirements in terms of uniforms and school supplies.
Now let’s also assume that around the 10 million mark of children are currently within the education system at any given moment, with more entering primary school with each passing year… this should start to build a picture for you; even if you focus on your own small geographic area or one particular subsection of the back to school niche market you have an absolutely enormous target audience!
Parents love bargains
You can’t blame parents for being desperate to bag a bargain when it comes to school uniforms and supplies. Children grow, making new clothes and shoes expensive essential requirements, while different school years often require different tools to help children progress, from items of stationary to scientific calculators and protractor sets.
These days, more and more parents are heading to the internet to look for cheap deals on back to school supplies. This means that your own online shop selling discounted school-related items could potentially provide a win-win solution for both you and struggling parents around the country.
Think about multiple selling avenues
Your back to school online shop might start off stocking uniforms for primary schools, shoes for infants or stationary suitable for A Level students, but it doesn’t have to end there. Consider the following ideas for ways to expand your own online store:
- University and college students may not require a uniform but they still need textbooks and various supplies for their studies. With enormous tuition fees to fight with, you will find plenty of these students looking for a good deal.
- Your back to school store could be aimed at one particular age group (nursery, infants, juniors, secondary, college, uni) or one particular sub-niche area (school shoes, school uniform, school bags, lunchboxes, textbooks, stationary). Digging deep into a sub-niche and specialising is an easy way to raise your profile as the place to go for supplies relating to your chosen subsection of the market.
- Budget cuts have resulted in many teachers and schools struggling to supply bits and pieces to their classes out of their own pocket, so why not aim to fill that need? Think about supplying DVD’s to show in class, medals and prizes to give out at the end of school terms, sports days and speech days; let your imagination run free!
How to make the most of the Back to School niche market
This should have given you some ideas for selling online within the back to school niche, so if this is something that interests you, then there are a couple more things to consider.
I’ve already mentioned that the majority of sales for back to school products are likely to happen within the couple of months preceding the new school year in September, that doesn’t mean that you will be unable to source and sell stock throughout the rest of the year. If storage space isn’t a problem, you will be able to find some great bargains in the quieter months ready to list and sell throughout the rest of the year.
The final consideration is to ensure that you are organising and listing your back to school stock in June – yes, this month – hence me telling you all about this today. Although most schools don’t break up for the summer holidays until July and don’t return until September, it’s the run up to the summer holidays that purchases for the next school year are made.
Start organizing your stock now to avoid missing precious weeks of sales!
As always I wish you the best of success.