The school year is fast approaching and your PTO or Booster Club may already be organizing calendars, setting up meetings, and ordering items for the Spirit Store.
Shirts, hoodies, hats, and more; all in stock to be sold on the first day of school, game days, and other choice times. Unfortunately, your sales are limited by volunteers available or customers present, even the time of day your shop is open. Ideally, you could reach everyone at any time and no one would have to worry about “manning the shop.” Is there a better way?
Add to your physical store by creating a school spirit wear online store! An online store would be open 24/7 and available to more just than students and teachers present at a fundraising event. You could now sell to busy parents, out of town grandparents, incoming students, or anyone else looking to represent your school at any time.
Add an Online Store to Your Existing Website
The first question you may ask is, how? Building your spirit store online isn’t as hard as you may think. There are plenty of resources to help you out. You can use an online store builder such as Wix, WordPress, and Shopify, or plugins such as Ecwid and Woocommerce, will make your experience much easier.
You’ll have to check your school’s CMS (Content Management System: software that allows for the editing, and publishment of content) provider to see if you can add a store to your school’s existing website. If not, you will have to create your own site with an independent program, such as Square or Shopify.
When adding your inventory on your shop page or site, you’ll need five things:
- Quality pictures of your spirit gear
- A name for each product so customers can search for them
- Your price
- Categories i.e. t-shirts, shorts, baseball caps, etc.
- Weight (for physical products and shipping purposes)
Some sites offer credit card processing when you create your online store with them, but if you’re making your own site, you’ll need to find one that works for you. Many credit card processors are free to install but will take a small charge and percentage of each transaction.
Decide on Inventory and Shipping for Your Spirit Store
Shipping costs can deter a customer, that is why many schools offer free school pick-up, where customers can pick up their spirit apparel from the school spirit store and skip shipping costs. However, whether or not this is an option for you may depend on how you plan to keep your inventory.
Can your school provide you with storage for all your spirit gear? If not, you may have to consider a separate storage provider or perhaps no inventory at all. In order to avoid inventory, some school stores opt for a process called “dropshipping.” With dropshipping, once a customer places an order, someone from your PTO will place that order with your chosen vendor and the vendor will ship the product to the customer.
Dropshipping is convenient though it may force you to increase your prices to cover the costs of working with a vendor. Whether it be from a local vendor or a large company, be sure to find a vendor you trust that sells at the quality you desire.
If you want to continue to have your inventory on hand, consider insuring it with AIM’s Property Insurance. If your property is damaged or stolen, AIM will cover you so you can replace those items. Don’t miss a sale if your spirit gear is stolen or damaged, restock without draining your bank account. Property insurance is a necessity in protecting your goods from fire, theft, vandalism, and more.
Selling spirit gear is a great way to fundraise for your school. It promotes community, pride, and uniformity. Don’t let small charges scare you off from a bigger payoff. Digitizing your store ensures that as many people as possible have access to your spirit apparel and your PTO can make the most of its efforts. It’s important to take your time with each step to obtain the best results with the least hassle; find what works best for your group, your students and your school.