The start of the 2020-2021 school year is well underway across the nation, and with it comes unique challenges and situations we have never seen before. Building a strong sense of community across the school is important for students and families. Decorators, distributors, and dealers play an integral role in fostering school spirit.
As you launch and run online stores for those “back to school” sales, don’t leave any money on the table by limiting yourself! Here are a few suggestions to help mix things up so you can maximize sales.
Offer Different Flavors of Back to School Stores
School looks different this season, and many districts expect more changes to happen over the next couple of months. Being aware of the schooling situation and pending shifts your districts may have, you can pivot and be quick to respond to needs that may develop over the course of the semester.
Students may be returning to school for in-person classes. To keep students and faculty safe, many school districts have adjusted procedures and created safety guidelines for students and faculty.
In addition to the items normally offered on their school online stores, safety guidelines and procedures for in-person classes may increase the need for products like personal water bottles, face coverings, and headphones.
Students may be learning from home through online classes. Many of these students will need ways to make online learning comfortable and help them focus throughout the day.
Offering items like logoed blankets, comfy loungewear, and school supplies are excellent additions to online stores for virtual learning, especially when they come hand-in-hand with spirit wear designed to foster community - even when students are at home.
Students may be in a district where part of the week is home-based learning, and part of the week is in-person learning. Or they may be in a district where virtual classes kick off the start of the school year before transitioning to traditional on-campus classes. Either way, this may warrant more than one selling opportunity to provide students what they need over the next few months as things continue to shift.
Mindfully ask questions and keep an eye on the decisions districts make, and be prepared to offer solutions as things shift. In addition to the suggestions above, students may need technology-supporting products, or even a greater range of spirit wear items like loungewear, layers, and tees to accommodate shifts in the school year.
The key takeaway is to be aware of the various learning models nearby school districts may be employing this fall. For example, my younger sister attends a high school in Colorado where in-person band and choir classes are being taught outside to meet social distancing guidelines. In the warmer months, these students may require hats, visors, sunglasses, or towels. In the cooler transition months, these students may require beanies, scarves, layers, or hand warmers.
Every district, every school, and even every class, has a unique way of approaching school this year, so use your resources and connections to gage the specific decisions they may be making. As you become aware of these shifts, provide unique solutions that support the students and faculty in their efforts.
Mix Up Your Product Assortment
Whatever approach schools in nearby school districts may take, there is a need for new and essential products. Keep in mind there may be a need to run multiple online stores so students have access to the products they need as things shift through the semester.
Classic school items are important for students to have, and whether they are learning at home or at school, students will need their own personal items. Consider including things like personal whiteboards and markers, pencil cases, backpacks, and water bottles.
Whether in class or not, technology is becoming an increasingly important part of student learning. Incorporate technology items to your product mix like laptop and tablet cases, headphones, mouse pads, a stylus pen, and webcam covers. Branded items that support technology usage are also popular, like phone or laptop stands and chargers.
Products that foster a sense of contentment are a top trend for branded merch this year, so imagine ways to help students have an enjoyable and relaxed learning experience - even in such a unique learning environment. Blankets, pennant flags, and tumblers are a great way for students to make their learning space their own. Include items like yoga balls, fidget spinners, or squishy stress relievers to support students who may feel fidgety during classes.
Just like remote employees, students participating in remote learning want to feel comfortable. Loungewear and athleisure are also a popular trend that students (and even parents) of all ages can embrace. Offer a variety of options such as logoed pajama pants, pullover hoodies, and yoga pants. Make sure to select items that are super soft and can last many washes.
Aside from face coverings and hand sanitizer, there are other types of items that are important to help keep students safe and give parents peace of mind. With an increasing use of technology, blue light glasses are a great way to help parents protect their students’ eyes. Also consider items like personal water bottles, anti-microbial school supplies, and UV light sanitizers.
Use OMG Online Store Features to Take Sales to the Next Level
OMG online stores are designed to simplify your sales and fulfillment process, while offering your customers and end consumers modern buying experiences. As you launch and run back to school stores this fall, be sure to utilize all of the great online store features the OMG platform has to offer. Here are a few to get you started.
Purchase Order Report
Save valuable time and reduce ordering errors by utilizing the Purchase Order report, which allows you to organize orders by vendor or supplier. This makes B2B purchasing simple and eliminates the need to tally product quantities by hand.
Custom Checkout Fields
Offer end consumers convenient delivery options by using custom checkout fields to provide things like contactless delivery or designated pick-up locations. Pick-up locations could include things like a student’s homeroom teacher or a specific school or campus.
Use the Personalization Report to eliminate potential decoration errors on customized items. This report is especially helpful for fulfilling made-to-order products like uniforms and spirit wear that include names and numbers.
Encourage consumers to order more items by offering free shipping once they reach a minimum cart total. For example, you can use tiered shipping to offer free shipping for orders over $100, or free two-day shipping for orders over $200. Just make sure to analyze the economics to ensure it makes sense financially.
Boost sales by offering $5 gift cards to encourage customers to shop the online store. Gift cards are also a great option for schools or accounts that have a specific item they want everyone to order (like a t-shirt), which then allows students and families to purchase additional items at their own cost.
Consumer Order Tracking
Manage expectations by providing consumers with visibility into the status of their orders with the Consumer Order Tracking feature. This provides consumers a self-service way to find answers to questions about their orders, which saves you time and effort in fielding those questions.
Promote additional products and encourage last-minute sales with the Recommended Products feature, which shows consumers top-performing products they can quickly add to their cart before checking out.
Keep your thumb on the pulse of school decisions in your area, and be prepared with a strategy to maximize those sales and offer needed products to customers. OMG is here to help!
OrderMyGear is an industry-leading sales tool, empowering dealers, distributors, decorators, and brands to create custom online pop-up stores to sell branded products and apparel. Since 2008, OMG has been on a mission to simplify the process of selling customized merchandise to groups and improve the ordering experience. With easy-to-use tools, comprehensive reporting, and unmatched support, the OMG platform powers online stores for over 3,000 clients generating more than $1 billion in online sales. Learn more at www.ordermygear.com.
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