Back to School Time for Online Sellers

May 21

Back to School Time for Online Sellers

This post was originally published on July 29, 2014

Most online sellers on Amazon and eBay are thinking about Q4, the final quarter of the year culminating in Christmas sales. Now is the time to be preparing for 4th Quarter, but don’t miss out on the next big shopping holiday – back to school.

This school year is almost over, but it’s not too early to start to plan ahead for selling back to school items on eBay and Amazon. Some schools operate year round, others homeschool, and many schools in the south will be starting again by mid-August. Other schools in the north will start their year after Labor Day in September. It seems like a long time, but if you plan head now you’ll be first in line with your back to school products listed and ready to go.

Back-to-School Bundles

One idea is a bundle made up of items most children need in the classroom. Amazon sellers make it easy with bundles like this Crayola Supply Pack. Amazon is selling this one, along with a few other third party sellers. A bundle like this should be simple to make up. Buy the products at a dollar store and put them in together. This pack isn’t sold FBA, most likely because of the hand sanitizer, but it should be simple enough to make a similar bundle without the sanitizer and send it into the FBA program in a large bag.

Other bundle ideas could include pens, pencils, notebook filler paper, or spiral notebooks bundled as a group. Or if you can find a similar design, like a Disney backpack, lunchbox and folders.

Thrift Store Finds

Selling back-to-school items on eBay can be just as lucrative as the retail arbitrage on Amazon. Check local thrift stores for backpacks still in good condition for resale. Be sure to open the back and check the bottom. I found a Disney Cars backpack at a yard sale for .50 and was going to buy it. It looked great. But when I looked inside, I could see through the bottom of the pack. The lining was peeling on the inside and was flaking off all inside the bag. The only thing still holding it together was the black mesh. If I hadn’t opened the bag, I never would have noticed it.

School uniforms could be another option at the thrift stores. Many schools have a uniform style, if not a particular uniform, such as blue or white polo shirts with khaki pants. Check yard sales and thrift stores for items like this or look for specific brands, such as George, Dickies, and Approved Schoolwear. Put the clothes together and sell in bundles if you have enough.


College textbooks sells the most in August and January. It’s one of the first sections I check out when I go to a thrift store. I’m looking for fairly recent editions and it’s okay if there’s some writing or highlighting in the book. I especially want to make sure that the spine and pages are good and if there’s a CD or DVD with the book that it’s included.

I bought used textbooks when I was going to college and sometimes bought an older edition to save more money. There wasn’t much of a difference in the 5th Edition of the American Government book I bought for $5.00 on Amazon versus the new one in the campus store for over $100. I followed along fine and much of the information was the same. So feel free to buy old textbooks for online resale. Send them into the FBA program and they’ll eventually sell.

Yes, the holidays are coming, and I’m getting ready for Q4 as well. But don’t ignore a possible sales opportunity now and get the back-to-school items listing. And remember to hit the sales AFTER the back-to-school rush is over. You’ll find deals on office supplies for your home office as well as potential bundles to put together for next school year.

If you’re an online seller, are you focusing on Q4 or back-to-school? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. It seems a little crazy how stores jumped on back-to-school almost before the 4th of July was even over. Is it just me or was the push earlier/harder this year? Regardless, it’s definitely in full swing now.

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