|Pens, folders and school swag are just a few of the things you can find in almost any school store throughout Canada. But what else can you find? At their core, school stores are learning environments that bring the teachings of the classroom to life.By working at a school store, elementary school students can improve basic math skills. For older students, they can see the business concept of supply and demand come to fruition. High schoolers and college students can reap real-life management skills. The opportunities for learning are vast.|
Here are a few simple tips on how to make sure your school store is not only successful in driving a profit but in driving education as well.
Do your research
You can gather this information by simply taking an informal poll or by digging a little deeper and developing a survey. If the school has access to student and staff e-mail lists, you could easily distribute a questionnaire via e-mail using a tool such as Survey Monkey® or Mail Chimp®. For schools that don’t have access to an e-mail list, you could hand out the survey the old-fashioned way, by hand during homeroom. Let the responses help guide what items you keep stocked.
Treat it like a business
When starting out, don’t overlook essentials like pricing stickers and product signage. Think about your demographic. Do students have their own money to buy items or are they receiving money from their parents? Perhaps selling gift certificates to parents at school sporting events would be a great opportunity and one tailored to a critical audience.
To take the business experience to the next step, think about implementing an employee incentive program. Each month an employee can be recognized for their outstanding contributions. Post their picture in an Employee of the Month frame and award them with school swag like a sweatshirt or T-shirt.
Spread the word
Take your marketing one step further by giving out product samples of the newest snack you have in stock. You could also hand out a coloured gel pen in the hopes they will purchase a variety of colours. You could even have stickers printed and placed on the last piece of paper in the notebooks you sell that has your hours of operation and a note that says “Out of paper? The school store has notebooks and loose-leaf paper for sale!” Think of different touch points that will get your audience thinking about the school store.
But above all, HAVE FUN! There is a wealth of learning opportunities in running a school store, but if the students are having fun while learning, then you’ve achieved the best of both worlds.
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