Schools may not be out just yet, but this time of year should mean one thing for resellers. Peak season for ordering supplies for the new academic year.

At VOW, our education team sees up to 50% of all purchases occur between late June and early July, which means the early summer period is a prime time for resellers interested in educational sales. Now more than ever, any reseller that wants to win those additional sales should be making their businesses as visible as possible among schools, colleges and nurseries.

Here are six ways resellers can prepare for ordering season:

Think bigger

Rather than compete head on with the big players on often low margin items, many resellers are winning by positioning themselves as secondary suppliers and exploring cross selling opportunities. There are distinct advantages for schools dealing with resellers when next day delivery can be invaluable for vital last minute purchases. The additional benefit of being locally based and becoming a trusted face can also make all the difference.

Know the end-users

In among the six steps to success in education is the importance of knowing the range of end users. Understanding the people that purchase in an education environment and what they need is vital. From caretakers to teaching staff to staff working in office-based and administration roles, each area of a school or college has distinct needs and will respond to different sales messages.

Engaging talking points

Having some research to hand can be a useful relationship builder. For selling to teaching staff who are likely to be motivated by pupil progress, research that shows pens are valuable tools for brain development could give sales teams a talking point. In Why Handwriting Matters, we discussed how writing by hand activates the brain in children in a way that typing or tracing do not.

Relieve pressure

Think about the fast paced lives of staff in educational environments and the technology that could not only support them in and around the workplace but also on the commute to and from work. Whether it’s document cameras, digital recording devices or wheeled laptop cases, think about the products that will make their lives easier.

Take care of the caretaker

When it’s reported that the consumption value per person in washroom and cleaning terms is around  £21 and you multiply that by the number of students, teaching and admin staff, it becomes clear why the facilities supplies offering is crucial.

Make friends with caretakers and find out more about their day to day responsibilities and priorities. Being informed about relevant health and safety rules, including working at height and colour coded cleaning, could pay extra dividends.

Think tech

From a technology perspective, the educational channel is a growth area. One huge product range is tablets, which offer a myriad of learning and sharing opportunities for pupils and teachers. They are seen by some as the future of classroom learning.

Although still in its infancy, an increasing numbers of schools are working almost exclusively on tablets with the actual work transfer done digitally. Using pre-loaded software, teachers can submit work, check a student’s progress, send messages and collect the work from their tablet.

Resellers can help schools plan for the arrivals of new devices on premises by reviewing device security, learner safety and ease of use.

Ancillary tech products are also key. One opportunity worth being aware of is cable management as there are said to be schools not yet fully conforming to standard HSE regulations and therefore risking trip hazards.

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