No I haven’t gone mad!

This week I just want to give you some tips about the ‘Back To School’ market! I know, I know – most schools are only just finishing up for the summer holidays around now but this is a really hot niche and it’s very important that if you want to profit from it, you get to grips with it early!

Grab yourself a slice of the multi-million pound market that is the ‘back- to school’ niche

I don’t know if it’s true that school days really are the best days of our lives, but they are certainly days that the vast majority of people within the UK must go through.

With several million children currently in some form of education in this country, there is a yearly requirement for new uniforms, items of stationary, textbooks and much, much more. Not to mention the supplies that teachers themselves need in order to keep their classes captivated throughout the school year.

Now you might be thinking that the ‘back to school’ niche market 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. In knowing that most income within this market area will happen in a short space of time, usually the couple of months running up to the new school year, a lot of sellers simply avoid it.

They choose to search for niches that they think will bring in an income all the year round instead. As I’m constantly letting eBay and Amazon sellers know however, it’s really important to diversify the different areas that you sell into to manage the natural peaks and troughs that you’ll face throughout the year.

Back to school supplies could be just the ticket to really maximise your own income for those few months of the year, plus, 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 will be definite lulls and peaks.

So, if you want to know why you should get into this market, please read on…

Advantage 1 – The sheer volume of customers

The UK boasts an incredibly high percentage of children that 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 actually stay in school until the required age of 16, with a lot continuing to sixth form or college until they reach 18.

So, let’s consider the numbers here. Assuming a child starts school at the age of 4 or 5 and remains in education until they are 18, it 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 enormous target audience.

Advantage 2 – Parents are bargain hunters

You can’t blame parents today for being desperate to bag a bargain when it comes to school uniforms and supplies. Children have a tendency to grow, making new clothes and shoes expensive requirements, while different school years often require different tools to help children progress, from items of stationary to scientific calculators and protractor sets.

Right now we are living in a difficult time economically, and this has led to more and more parents heading to the internet to look for cheap deals on back to school supplies. This means that your own eBay shop selling discounted school-related items could potentially provide a win-win solution for both you and struggling parents around the country. While you can make a profit on selling on your wholesale goods, your customers can still grab a great deal on school items that may only be required for one year.

Advantage 3 – Multiple selling avenues

Your back to school eBay shop might start with uniforms for primary schools or stationary suitable for A Level students, but it doesn’t have to end there. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the different subsections within the back to school niche. Consider the following few ideas for ways to expand your own online store:

• Why stop at school? University students still need textbooks and various supplies for their continued learning. With enormous tuition fees to fight with, you might find these students even more desperate for a good deal.

• Why not specialise? Your back to school store could be aimed at one particular age group or one particular subject area. Specialising in this way is a really easy way to raise your profile as the place to go for supplies relating to your chosen subsection of the market.

• Why not think about teachers as well? Budget cuts and the like have resulted in many teachers struggling to supply bits and pieces to their classes out of their own pocket, so why not aim to fill that need? From DVDs to show in class to medals and prizes to give out at the end of school terms or years; let your imagination run free!

How to make the most of the Back to School niche market

I hope this has given you a few ideas for starting to sell back to school products online by looking at the advantages of this hot niche. If this is something that you’d like to consider expanding into then there are a couple more things to consider though.

Although I’ve already mentioned that the majority of sales for back to school bits and bobs 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 might be able to find some great bargains in the months of September and October ready to list and sell throughout the year. Keep your eyes open all the year round to help you to source some great deals to maximise your profits when your back to school shop becomes popular.

The final consideration is to ensure that you are organising and listing your back to school stock in July – hence me telling you all about this today! Although most schools don’t return until September, it’s usually the summer holiday where purchases for the next year are made.

If you don’t start organising your stock until the middle of August you will be missing precious weeks of sales, so stay on top of what you have to sell and start listing earlier rather than later. Your organisation will pay off!