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7 Tips For Preparing Your Online School Store This Holiday Shopping Season
Andrew Martin

Despite challenges from inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the effects of the ongoing pandemic, last November-December a record-breaking 226 million US shoppers spent over $1000 each during the busy holiday season, bringing in a total of almost $867 billion

Online sales also increased over the previous year for a total of $218.9 billion spent during the two-month period, and that number is expected to rise again for this holiday season. Globally, the totals were even more impressive — more than one billion online shoppers spent a collective $1.14 trillion, a new global holiday spending record, according to the National Retail Federation. 

This gift-giving season, schools have the opportunity to help their school swag reach a wider audience, let friends and families skip the crowded malls, and even collect extra revenue with the help of an online school store.

Whether you’ve been running an online school store for years or just made your first sale, don’t end up on the “naughty list” — here are the top seven tips for schools when prepping your online school store for the holiday season. (You might even pick up some last-minute gift ideas!)

1. Make sure your online school store is easy to find on your website

Your online school store won’t reach its full potential for bringing in additional revenue during the holiday season if your website visitors can’t actually find your store. 

Many schools tend to bury their store deep within their school’s sitemap. If you want people to spend their hard-earned dollars at your store, you shouldn’t force them to search for it on your website, especially while using a smartphone.

Fairfield preponline school store

Consider adding a quick link to your store at the top of your website’s homepage, like Fairfield Prep. A call-to-action to the store on your homepage, or a website notification letting your community know about your store sales can direct visitors to your store and increase the number of conversions.

2. Include store discounts in your newsletters

Inform your community that you’re running a holiday special with discounted items and/or new items available exclusively for the holiday season. Whatever the incentive, relay the information, showcase a few “hot items,” and include a CTA in your regular newsletters that take readers directly to your school store.

You can even include a discount code or coupon for specific items in your emails to

  1. Incentivize spending from those who wouldn’t do so otherwise, and 
  2. Easily track how effective your emails were by seeing how many shoppers use your discount codes or coupons during the holiday shopping season.
online school store coupons

If you're using Finalsite’s Workflows module, you can create short email campaigns to send a series of emails to your community in the weeks leading up to the holiday break as quick, effective reminders that your store is the perfect place to buy holiday gifts.

3. Know your inventory in advance

To avoid inventory issues, you’ll want to make sure you’re sharing items that you actually have in stock, or at least, Santa’s elves can put together quickly.

Nobody wants to find themselves in the unfortunate situation where they order a holiday gift online, only to find out that the item they ordered is not in stock. Now, the shopper has to either wait for the item to become available or find another place to shop. 

Avoid these issues by knowing well in advance what items you have and focusing on those as your big promotions. For example, items like hoodies and sweatpants are going to be in high demand during fall and winter, so make sure you have plenty of both available across all sizes and colors. 

Additionally, make sure you take inventory of items you’re nearly out of so you can either order more before the holiday rush or remove them from the store if you’re unable to order more before holiday orders pick up steam.

online school store fleece jacket

Finalsite Store makes this process simple through product variations and unique sets of options for products that come in different sizes and colors. You can even mark specific variations as “Out of Stock” to prevent shoppers from ordering that option.

4. Focus on your top-selling items

Tumblers, athletic gear, that super cozy sweatshirt parents love — it’s important to anticipate what items will be your most popular for the holiday season. 

If you’ve always sold hundreds of hoodies, sweatpants, and school-branded sportswear during the holiday season, it’s a safe bet this year will be the same. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to order a surplus of those items to avoid running out of your best sellers halfway through the holiday season.

online school store swag

Finalsite Store’s dashboard allows you to search specific time periods to see what items were big sellers for the previous holiday season (or any period for that matter) so you can keep a surplus and keep families happy.

5. Boost sales with discounts, coupon codes, and gift cards

Holiday sales and discounts are excellent ways to incentivize visitors to get spending — after all, who doesn’t love a good deal during the holiday season?

Finalsite Store allows you to create and manage a variety of discount options for shoppers, like specific percentages, limited-time offers, and promo codes. You can also create and sell electronic gift cards that make perfect last-minute gift options for those hard-to-shop-for family members.

online school store gift card

Shoppers can then redeem and spend their gift cards whenever they want — all at once or across multiple orders until the card is fully redeemed. Store administrators can see how much revenue gift cards have generated, which cards have been redeemed, and the amount of total revenue still unclaimed from sold gift cards.

6. Make sure all your holiday items have photos

For all its advantages, online shopping does face the challenge of shoppers not being able to place their eyes on the actual items. This disadvantage is especially true for shoppers who are browsing apparel and can’t try items on.

However, you can reduce a lot of uncertainty by making sure every item and variation you offer has at least one, high-quality photo to show what the item looks like and a general sense of how an item of clothing will look on someone. Obviously, more photos never hurt!

online school store swag

Besides, a store interface with photos missing or no photos at all lacks cohesion, looks unprofessional, and might convince shoppers an item is unavailable. Shoppers expect a standard experience when it comes to spending online, largely in part due to online stores like Amazon offering entire galleries for each item, as well as customer-uploaded photos.

online school store brand

Finalsite Store makes it quick and easy to upload photos for each item, with the added option to upload photos for each variation. This means you can upload a photo for each size and color variation of those popular men’s elf sweatpants your store offers.

Pro Tip: Consider taking photos of your apparel on a mannequin to help visualize the look, feel, and fit of your items.

7. Take advantage of a quick and secure mobile checkout

People expect to shop whenever and wherever they want on the device they most commonly use throughout their busy days — smartphones. 

Mobile commerce, or mCommerce, is expected to double in sales by 2025, accounting for just over 44 percent of retail eCommerce sales in the US, or roughly $728 billion in sales. Globally, this number is expected to reach roughly $1.5 trillion by 2025.

Since Finalsite Store can be embedded directly on a responsive Finalsite website, the store’s interface naturally adjusts to meet the dimensions of whatever device your website visitors are using, creating a seamless mobile shopping experience for busy shoppers on the go.

online school store shopping cart

The checkout process is just as seamless and convenient with a variety of payment types (such as cash, debit or credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, invoice, checks, bank transfers, etc.) and security that ensures PCI compliance. Additionally, tax and shipping costs are automatically calculated during the checkout process.

Key takeaway

If you’ve prepared, an online school store is a valuable tool to generate additional revenue during the holiday season. By effectively promoting your store, ensuring you have a sizable stock of items to last through the holidays, and enticing shoppers with discounts, coupons, and gift cards, you’ll be ready for the gift-giving season!

Finalsite Store


As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.

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