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Nine Ways to Hit Back to School Hard This Year

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Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
Last Edited 04:41:49 PM by News Team

Some kids aren’t even out of school yet and we’re already talking about back to school. But, we have good reason.


According to the National Retail Federation, last year Back to School represented a $68 billion opportunity. That’s like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Halloween combined.


If you know your retail moments, you know that Back to School is the second largest retail opportunity, after Holiday; the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s combo.


Given that we start talking about Holiday at the end of the summer, it’s only fitting that we get the Back to School ball rolling now.

Here are nine ways to capitalize on the Back to School retail opportunity:


  1. Start sourcing inventory now. Based on eBay data, we expect the following categories to be in high demand with the K-12 and college set:

Fashion (Clothing and accessories)

Electronic Devices

Electronic Accessories

School Supplies


Dorm room products

Sports & Hobby


  1. Consider buying in-demand items from a wholesaler. If you don’t already have access to the kind of inventory listed above, look into buying from a wholesale source (read Dan Riley’s blog for everything that involves). Or, you could try buying from eBay Wholesale Deals.


  1. Subscribe to eBay Stores. If you already have a Store, great! If not, here’s why it might be time to take the plunge. With an eBay Stores subscription, you can:

Create Back to School-themed Store promotions, because, approximately 75%* of shoppers are looking for some kind of deal.

Feature a Back to School-themed image on your Store billboard, or use your Featured Items area to showcase your best Back to School products.

Create a Back to School-themed newsletter to promote your best items and promotions.

Try eBay promoted listings to stand out in crowded categories like Electronics.


Take advantage of the eBay branded shipping supplies coupon, and encourage repeat business with your packaging prowess.


  1. Get your Back to School items listed using eBay best practices. Make it easy to find your items with keywords and product identifiers. You can spend hours sourcing the right inventory and taking awesome product shots, but if you don’t include the right words and product identifiers (where available) in your descriptions, shoppers will have a hard time finding your Back School merchandise. Keyword examples include Back to School, school supplies, college dorm, etc.


  1. Be strategic about shipping and handling, because a few tweaks can increase your sales by up to 11%.


  1. Consider bundling items. If you carry items that naturally make good bundles (crayons and construction paper or an iPad and case), try creating one as a single listing to boost your average order value. Or, if you are an eBay Stores subscriber, you can use the Manage Promotions feature to create an Accessory Discount offer. For instance, you could offer 20% off a lunchbox when a buyer purchases a backpack for their K-12 kiddo, or 10% off pillow cases when they purchase sheets for their college-bound teen. 




  1. Create Back to School collections and/or Store categories. If you don’t create promotions or merchandise your Store around the Back to School moment, at least make it easy for your buyers to find everything kids/young adults need as they head back to class. You can do this by creating a collection, or if you have a Stores subscription, by creating a new Store category. For extra credit (and likely more sales), you can do all of the above.


  1. Use social media to advertise your Back to School promotions. If you create offers specific to the #BacktoSchool season, be sure to amplify them via social media (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). If you don’t have a Store, you can promote specific Back to School items instead. Be sure to only feature your best pieces and post sparingly. Tweeting everything you list is one of the fastest ways to lose followers and potential customers.


  1. Make some cash through the eBay Partner Network (ePN). If you plan to promote your Store or items via social, you can potentially earn extra money driving Back to School traffic to eBay. It’s simple: If an item you’re promoting through ePN sells, you earn a commission. How’s that for some next-level retail moment action?


In the meantime, we’ll be working on a multi-million-dollar, multi-channel Back to School marketing campaign designed to drive traffic for this monumental opportunity.


And you thought your summer was going to be slow…

Have some Back to School tips to share? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to share this article with your eBay peers via email and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.


*Source: National Retail Federation, 2013.