It’s only May, so it might seem like a strange time to be talking about the back-to-school season when school’s just about to be over for summer. But if you’re in the retail business, preparing for a season starts at least a quarter before the season actually hits. So if you want to get in on the short but very profitable season of back-to-school products, then right now is your opportunity, and this episode will help you with some back-to-school bundle ideas. First up, I explain what and when the back-to-school season is and why it’s better to stick with a less-is-more approach to bundling, especially if it’s your first time around. Then I go through some of the classic types of back-to-school bundles and point out that, in addition to these, there’s still a lot of demand for virtual learning resources, which could be a great niche to get into. I also discuss how to find wholesale opportunities for seasonal bundles without breaking the bank and give some ideas for less obvious back-to-school bundles, including school uniforms, locker decorations, and resources for sports and after-school activities.
Next, I get a bit more specific, focusing on bundling ideas for college students as they transition from living at home to life in a dorm. I also go through some ideas for high school, elementary, and preschool, including getting hold of school supply lists to see what items kids are definitely going to be looking for when they start back-to-school shopping. These include obvious items like backpacks and calculators and less obvious things like resources for teachers, crafting supplies, and snacks and groceries. And most importantly, I encourage everybody to use their specific knowledge and expertise to help find a niche you can make the most of, whether that’s as a teacher or a parent with kids in college or some other life experience. Remember to stay focused, take a less-is-more approach, and start now so that you’re ready when your customers start shopping.
You can discuss even more bundling ideas with the Amazon Files and Mommy Income community. You can join our Facebook group with today’s codeword BACKTOSCHOOL to learn more about bundling, ask questions, and participate in the conversation with other sellers. And if you’re ready to take your business to a whole new level, visit MommyIncome.com/Coach to schedule your one-on-one coaching call today.
This week on the Amazon Files:
“Back to school is a plethora of ideas. But you’ve got to narrow it down and decide what is the easiest category for you to serve, based on your own knowledge bank.”
- Kristin Ostrander
“This is why we want to get a jumpstart on it and do it ahead of the season. So that when your customers are looking to buy back-to-school items, they just go to Amazon and find your bundles. They don’t have to go to Walmart or Staples or all these different places, Target and stuff like that that offer all this back-to-school stuff. Instead, they’re just going to Amazon, they’re picking out what they want, and they’re moving on with their lives.”
“People move directly from back to school to Halloween. It’s like the one-two punch. It’s like all of a sudden, we’re back to school, we’re getting into the swing of things, and you turn around a week later, and all of a sudden, it’s Halloween, and we don’t know what happened to September. That’s kind of what happens in the back-to-school situation. So you want to be paying attention to the fact that, yes, this is a shorter season.”
“The reality is you will never know all ten items that your customer needs. You cannot necessarily anticipate that. Unless you’re curating a bundle for a very specific event or purpose, you have to make assumptions, you have to guess.”
“You can have a virtual learning back-to-school bundle that includes some of those things that you might need in those types of environments. If your child was setting up for a virtual school situation, what are the things that they’re going to need at home that will make it easier for them?”
“You can put a five-pack of white polo shirts, size 8-10 for boys or girls or either one, into a bundle, and it will sell. Why? Because there are plenty of moms out there looking for, I just need five of these. We’re going to start off the year with five of them, at least we have one for every day. I don’t do the laundry till Sunday, we always have a backup.”
“All I have to say is ‘laptop accessories.’ And then you can go do a Google search, you can do an Amazon search, you can run it through the framework, and figure it out, what to bundle with what. And these are just ideas of where you can take the first idea and what products you have access to.”
“Transitioning from high school to college is a big transition in life. You don’t realize what you need until you don’t have it. And you don’t realize that you don’t have it because you’ve always had it in your house. And now you’re stuck in a room and like, oh my gosh, I don’t have the things I need. So stocking some of those things, even beyond the back-to-school time period, is super helpful.”
“You hope that you can get them in on time, Amazon checks them in on time, and you can still sell them. That is my nervousness about retail arbitrage bundles and seasonal stuff is timing is everything. If you don’t get them in on time, no one’s gonna buy them.”
“Your opportunity to bring bundles to specific groups of people just starts with thinking. It starts with who do I want to serve and when? And right now, we want to serve back to school people starting in July. So we’re thinking about them today.”
“Don’t even get me started on the ballet dance tights, just, we can’t even go there. I should buy stock in ballet tight companies, you know, because they rip whether they cost $25 or $5. Tights for ballerinas are a pain point. So if someone has a solution to that problem, that would be great.”
“If you just sent some kids off to college, you’re going to have more knowledge in that area of what they needed and didn’t need and listening to their pain points when they come back. You know, they’re coming back to visit for the weekend. And they say, ‘Oh, I wish we had this at school’ or ‘We don’t have this.’ Pay attention. Those are products that solve problems for college kids.”
“There’s so many different realities that we have to come to, we have a million different ideas, and we have to rein it in. And here’s how I’m going to rein it in for you: focus on just a few bundles in a few specific categories. Serve what you know most about, whether that’s clothing or grocery or a specific school or the teachers or whatever it is, just stay really focused.”
“Don’t start thinking when your shoppers are thinking. You have to think before them so that you can get yourself on the shelf, so that when they’re ready to walk in, aka, look up your stuff on Amazon, you already have it ready. So be ready. Stay ready, get ready, so you don’t have to get ready in the moment.”
Grow Your Amazon Business!
Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Amazon Files, the show to help Amazon sellers along their business journey one step at a time with Amazon expert and your host, Kristin Ostrander. If you enjoyed this episode, head over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe to the show, and leave us your honest review. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes with your friends on social media! Use the codeword BACKTOSCHOOL to join us on Facebook. Each week, Kristin hosts a live discussion on how to grow your Amazon business. Don’t forget to check out our website and subscribe to our mailing list for even more resources.