If you are a parent, you could be forgiven for reading the words ‘back to school’ and assuming I have lost my marbles!

It’s likely that, if you have children, they are only just finishing up for the summer holidays and won’t actually be returning to school until September – so why am I rattling on about it already?

Well, this is a completely logical thought process because, as an online seller, forward planning is one of the crucial keys to profiting – so addressing the potential associated with kids heading back to school is not as strange as it may initially appear.

It is no secret that this market is absolutely red-hot. I’ve recently received emails from Marks & Spencer and Asda urging me to purchase uniform for use in September right now – so their marketing is well and truly underway already.

Plus, there have been countless emails from wholesale suppliers offering a range of school items that they have in stock. It is clear that if you want to profit from this market, you must also get to grips with it now.

I’ve actually researched this niche in detail previously (and exclusively) for members of The Source Report. At that time, my findings included the fact that online searches for items including ‘gym skirts’ ‘sports shorts’ and other school uniform items do start rising very rapidly during the summer holidays – and even before then – so this is the very reason you should be prepared.

But you don’t have to only consider uniform type items – what about gym bags, book bags, stationery, lunchboxes and beakers? This is a huge niche with loads of potential sub-niches for you to look into.

What about the competition though?

It’s fair to say you might be concerned that this niche, being so huge and so popular, will be way too competitive for you to squeeze into as well. But actually, it’s not as competitive as you may think.

Due to an increase in sales within this area in a fairly short period – June through to September – some sellers simply avoid it because they think that it’s purely a seasonal niche, instead choosing markets they think will bring in a steady income all year round.

In my opinion however, if you look at ‘school supplies’ rather than ‘school uniform’ most of these product types are most definitely not seasonal items.

‘School supplies’ sell all year round

Several million children are currently in some form of education in this country and with this comes the annual requirement for not only new uniforms, but also items of stationery – such as pens, paper and calculators, textbooks and folders – for those students.

So to make ‘school supplies’ a year-round and profitable niche, it’s really important to diversify into different areas within the main niche in order to successfully manage the natural highs and lows you may otherwise face over a 12 month cycle.

Here are some of the many advantages the school supplies niche brings you as a seller:

Good potential customer volumes

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 school supplies.

Now let’s also assume that around 10 million children are within the education system at any given moment, with more entering primary school as each year passes… this should start to help illustrate the bigger picture for you.

Even if you focus on your local area or just one particular sub-niche of the ‘back to school’ market, you have an absolutely enormous target audience waiting.

You can appeal to parents who are budget conscious

You can’t blame parents for being partial to bagging a bargain when it comes to school supplies. As youngsters progress through school, different stages of their education come with needs for different tools to help them advance, from items of stationery to scientific calculators.

Parents often head online to look for inexpensive deals on such supplies. This means that your own online store or eBay shop selling school-related items could potentially be very successful.

The opportunity to grow a successful business

Your back to school online store might start off just stocking supplies for younger pupils – for example, plimsolls for infants – or you may decide to specialize in stationery suitable for older A Level students. But it doesn’t have to end there, you can expand!

For instance…

  • Your back to school store could be aimed at just one particular age group (nursery, infants, juniors, secondary, college, uni) or one particular sub-niche (school bags, lunchboxes, textbooks, stationery). Digging really deep into a sub-niche and then super-specializing is an easy way to become an expert and raise your profile as the place to go for supplies relating to your chosen field.
  • University and college students need notebooks, folders, bags, backpacks and various stationery supplies for their studies. With enormous tuition fees to contend with, you will find plenty of students looking around online for deals.
  • And what about teachers as well as parents? Budget cuts have resulted in many teachers and schools struggling to supply educational material for their classes, so why not aim to fill that need? Think about supplying medals and prizes to give out as rewards for effort, sports days and speech days. Also think about star charts and badges.

I’ve given you some ideas in this eletter, but you must ensure that you get yourself organised as soon as possible. There’s still time if you act now.