Okay, we know what you’re thinking- it’s the middle of summer! But, it’s never too early to plan your back-to-school (BTS) selling strategy. Similar to the holiday shopping season, BTS is starting earlier and earlier each year. Fortunately for sellers, this means more opportunity to seize this huge retail moment- $82.2 billion to be exact.
Before you stock up on school supplies, check out a few factors that can help make your BTS selling strategy a huge success.
Understand BTS Buying Behaviors
To begin, it’s important to understand the two specific phases of BTS buying behaviors; college and K-12.
- Phase 1 (College): Believe it or not, the focus on back-to-college shopping technically starts as early as April or May. During these months, parents and graduation gift-givers are seeking dorm-related items to stock up students for the new school year. Phase 1 officially starts around mid-July and ends mid-to-late August, in line with most college move-in days.
- Phase 2 (K-12): This phase begins after July 4th and focuses on the kindergarten through high school crowd. Parents’ mindsets are all about outfitting their kids with the best clothes, tech, and school supplies to start off the new school year.
Schedule Your Sourcing
Leverage the two phases of BTS to source items that are in high demand by those specific audiences.
In Phase 1, parents and college students are looking for:
- Computers & Office: laptops, printers, storage devices
- Consumer Electronics: TVs, cell phones, portable audio
- Apparel & Accessories: footwear, backpacks, bags, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, denim
- Health & Beauty: shower caddies, hair care products, soap, makeup
- Home: bedding, dorm décor, small space furniture, small kitchen appliances, lighting, storage & organization, bath towels and accessories
- General Merchandise: books, luggage, sporting goods
In Phase 2, in-demand items for K-12 students can include:
- Computers & Office: laptops, calculators, notebooks, binders, planners, calendars
- Apparel & Accessories: backpacks, messenger/shoulder bags, footwear, tees, hoodies, jackets, denim
- General Merchandise: books, sporting goods
Be sure to source well before each phase’s shopping window so you have time to properly list items. BULQ is a great way to stock up large quantities of category-specific inventory, so source now!
Plan Your Promotional Strategy
The BTS selling space is definitely crowded, so think through ways your listings can stand out. A few suggestions:
- Create BTS-themed promotions to offer deals and discounts on specific BTS items.
- If you have an email list, create a BTS newsletter to showcase your best items and promotions.
- Consider bundling related items together (such as bed sheets and a comforter) to boost your average order value. You could also offer discounts on separate listings that are purchased together, such as 20% off lunchboxes with the purchase of a backpack.
- Use social media to promote your BTS inventory. If you have specific promotions or special items, share them across your channels to let buyers quickly know about them.
Resellers, what typically sells best for you during BTS season? Let us know in the comments below!