Distance learning is upending everything we know about back-to-school shopping. School reopening plans are changing constantly, while students are learning remotely, outside, and in person. This year’s back-to-school shopping season won’t have a clear end date, creating an opportunity for many retailers.
With students learning in so many different ways, the back-to-school products you need to keep in stock will look different, too. We looked at Square sellers’ transactions* from August to September to see the items that sold well — and those that didn’t — during the beginning of this year’s back-to-school season.
Even if you don’t sell educational products, this list can help you rethink and repackage your product mix as distance learning stretches on and continues to evolve.
18 distance learning products to add to your catalog
We’ve grouped these items based on four educational scenarios that students, teachers, and parents are finding themselves in as a result of the pandemic.
In-home classroom setup
Whether students are in elementary school or college, a comfortable home classroom can ease some of the difficulties of remote learning. That means many people are purchasing basic office gear, like office chairs and desks. According to our data, sales have risen 115% and 45%, respectively, since last year.
Some folks are enhancing their setup with distance learning supplies like desk organizers, exercise balls, and desk pads to make the remote classroom setup more organized and ergonomic. So far this year, desk organizer sales have risen 4.4X, exercise ball sales have gone up 3.7X, and sales for desk pads climbed 29%, according to our research.
What to do next: Think about the items you sell that could make a remote classroom more comfortable. Whether it’s desk plants, organizers, or artwork, rebranding your inventory for home offices and remote classrooms can help you get your products in front of more students.
Remote learning support
Educational aids can also help students absorb new information more effectively. That’s why our data shows that printer sales have risen by 70% this year compared to last, dry erase board sales have grown by 53%, and flashcard sales have soared 5.5X.
Some unconventional products are also experiencing a spike in sales. Fidget spinners, which can help people with ADHD focus better, have seen sales rise by 61% compared to last year.
Remote learning also means many students are now on video calls. To help improve video quality, shoppers are stocking up on ring lights, which can make lighting more flattering. Ring light sales have ballooned 11X since last year, while sales of webcam covers, which help with privacy, have grown 6X. – Read more
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