Temperatures are rising, kids are out of school, tents and RVs are being cleaned out, and that hammock looks really nice right about now. Summer is here!
And that means it’s time to start thinking about Back to School sales.
That’s right. While we, too, enjoy our lazy days of summer with its family and vacation time, we are also gearing up for what is one of the biggest sales seasons of the year. In fact, the Back to School “season” is only exceeded by Christmas spending!
Consumers in the United States spend more than $83 BILLION a year on supplies for kindergarten through college-aged students. According to the National Retail Association, the average family spends $688 on K-12 students.
This spells a big-time opportunity for resellers.
Many sellers often wonder when they should be preparing for Back To School and when they should be shipping/selling the items they find.
Today’s post is taken from our Back To School Profits guide. This is just an excerpt and there are more details inside of the guide 🙂
Why Are Parents Flocking To Amazon For Their Back To School Needs?
As a reseller, you provide a service to Amazon buyers who are willing to pay a premium for the convenience you offer. Remember, kids are around much more now, and that means tired parents! Sometimes, to that worn-out Mom or Dad, it’s well worth paying an extra $7 to not have to haul everyone out to the store.
Another factor in garnering premium prices on Amazon is that the “good stuff” runs out quickly and becomes really hard to find. If you’ve sold on Amazon during the 4th quarter, this probably sounds familiar!
In the same way that the most popular toy during Christmas is nearly impossible to find, so too are the popular Back to School supplies scarce. But because you’ve prepared early and stocked the hot products, customers will be in luck — and you will make a nice profit.
Amazon Seller Timeline For Selling Back To School
In mid July or early August, you will start to see a transformation take place in stores. That one puny aisle of “office supplies” morphs into an entire space loaded with pretty notebooks, bedazzled locker mirrors, Ninja Turtle-shaped backpacks, lunch boxes (that will soon be left on the school yard!) and pencil boxes of every conceivable color.
By the time most parents start shopping for their Back to School supplies - you know, about a week before school starts - this space will be a crazy zone! Notebooks strewn about, empty shelves where that must-have backpack once hung, and screaming kids wandering about.
You’re probably starting to get the picture of how appealing it is to shop for those items on Amazon instead.
So how do you prepare as a seller? In mid to late June, really start paying extra attention to the trending toys on Amazon and in the Big Box stores, learn the popular kids television shows, and study which colors are trending in home goods. What are the movies that just came out or will be released just before school starts?
These are the things you want to be keeping an eye out for so you can anticipate the hot sellers.
In July, you will start to see some awesome sales on back to school supplies in the Big Box stores. Similar to Q4, a lot of products sold during Back to School season can be profitable even when purchased at retail price, but of course your profit will be higher the better a discount you get.
Also in July, you’ll start to notice some stand-out items that sell on Amazon for much higher prices than in the retail stores (another similarity to Q4). You’ll also notice stock getting limited in stores. Now is a good time to start grabbing up those items and listing them right away.
In July or August, I’d recommend picking up the Sunday paper to watch the store promotions on back to school items. You’ll notice trends on characters and themes of supplies in the ads, which is a good way for you to learn what’s popular.
I also save some time by cross-checking the items in the ad with the same items on Amazon. Doing this at home on my computer saves me some time that I would have spent scanning in the store.
Early in August, you’ll notice that stock levels are decent but that some of the most popular items will already be nearly impossible to find. Good thing you stocked up!
You’ll also notice your sales on Amazon picking up speed this month, even for “common” items. Now is the push to get most of your inventory in to the warehouses. For anything that’s not selling well or not at all, you’ll want to consider repricing or doing some outside promotion.
By late August and early September, many Big Box retailers are ready to move on to the next holiday, so you’ll start to see some clearance and markdowns. Items I typically like to grab during these sales include those that can be bundled, like notebooks/folders, locker accessories, etc. You may also purchase items that will be ready for replacements by mid-year.
By September, you should be running out of stock and ready to take some time off. But don’t take too much time off - Q4 is upon us!
Stay tuned: in Part 2 of our Back to School series, we will discuss tips for spotting trends.
What are some other tips you can provide for how to prepare for Back to School season, and what to keep an eye out for right now?
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