Stocking the School Store for a Target Age

To make your school store a success, stock it with merchandise appropriate for your target market. Knowing your customer is key in retail. To profit, you must carry the items your customers want and need. When we think of supplies that students need for school, we often think of general supplies, those used by youngsters in elementary school as well as by seniors eager to finish high school. What should they grow accustomed to using throughout their schooling?


Best Supplies for Elementary Students

Writing supplies are a necessity for any age, but new writers can become more confident in developing their skills when they are writing with a utensil that they like. Pencils don’t have to be the standard run-of-the-mill yellow #2. They can be eye-catching, cute, and trendy, think fun pencils. When the writing utensil looks attractive, kids are excited to put them to use.

Erasers are a must. Young writers make lots of mistakes, and cool erasers can help efface discouragement. Remember, elementary kids are developing the fine motor skills needed to accurately shape letters and numbers. Add over-sized pens and pencils to your selection. Also, offer pencil grips that slide onto the utensil, giving small fingers a larger surface to grasp. Grips come in both squishy and firm textures. Some are even shaped like animals! Look for pens, pencils, and their accessories that are colorful or scented. Try finding designs that are holiday-themed or themed with popular storybook characters. These designs are particularly attractive to elementary students.

When it comes to notebooks, this age group benefits from wide-ruled paper; college-ruled sheets are way too narrow for them. Your school store should have notebooks with covers guaranteed to bring a smile to any child’s face. Look for those with pictures of cute animals, familiar characters, and cool graphics. Do the same when you select 2-pocket folders to sell at your store. Select notebooks and folders that are durable; students will need these products to survive many trips in a bookbag.


Best Supplies for Middle School Students

Generally, this is the age when students begin using lockers and traveling from class to class. Locker accessories are always a good choice! While the locker stores books and outdoor apparel, students need something portable for storing their writing utensils, erasers, and pencil sharpeners. Make pencil pouches available to your school store customers for this reason. Another handy accessory is a magnet. Students can use these inside their lockers to hold up important reminders, homework to turn in, or a portrait of their best friend. Look for colorful designs and interesting shapes with kid-appeal.

In middle school, students conduct more research and take more notes for their classes than they did when they were in elementary school. They will be identifying important facts and learning how to organize information. Highlighters become important tools at this age. Yellow is the go-to color for many, but access to multiple colors can be extremely helpful for students. Sell highlighters in blue, green, and pink in addition to yellow. Help kids save space in their pencil pouches by offering highlighters that have a combination of colors within a single unit. Some look like stars; the end of each point can be uncapped to reveal a highlighter tip of a different color.

Colored pencils are another wise staple of the middle school store. These are much more suitable than an elementary student’s crayons because of their durability and ability to be sharpened to a point. Colored pencils are often used in art for coloring drawings, mathematics for shading graphs, and geography for distinguishing borders on a map.


Best Supplies for High School Students

At this age, students often gravitate towards using mechanical pencils. Now more comfortable in the act of writing, they are less likely to break the lead of a mechanical pencil than they were when they were young. Being unable to use one’s mechanical pencil because it’s out of lead is a common problem that has disappointed many high school students. Make 0.5 and 0.7 mm lead available at your school store. This is one product that can really help a student have a good day.

Once in high school, students will be writing more than ever before. Although they may have access to laptops or similar devices, they will still be required to use notebook paper. Both wide- and college-ruled sheets are good products to carry. As with the 2-pocket folders they’ll be needing, carry notebooks and writing journals with graphics that appeal to their age. Pictures of animals have universal appeal, but you may also want to include sports themes.

Rulers, compasses, and protractors are tools needed in high school geometry and general math courses. Keep a few of these available for sale in your school store. Look for those that are both durable and affordable.

One other type of merchandise to carry in a high school store is for classes that require a special display be made for a project. Students typically make a special trip to the store for this. White poster boards are essential, but you may choose to carry colored poster boards too. Although they tend to cost a bit more, students often like making a display with a tri-fold board. Since this kind of supply isn’t used daily, talk to teachers in your building to find out when their classes will have a need for poster boards. Collaborating in this way is key to running a successful school store.