Taking the strain out of the school shop

August 01, 2012

In recent years Stevensons has seen an increase in enquiries from schools wanting to outsource the running of their school shop, selling uniform and sports kit along with stationery, toiletries and tuck.

Often there are a number of reasons why schools don’t want to run their school shop anymore: 
 
Onerous management: a school shop requires a huge investment in time to manage it well requiring stock and supplier management, fitting-out of the shop, cashing up and banking takings along with staff administration. That’s before serving any parents and any ensuing customer service that's required.

Cash tied up: many schools would rather free up the funds that are invested in running a school shop and use it for other causes. Let me know any schools that couldn’t find 100 things to do with extra funds!
 

Shabby premises: often schools are located in historic properties where space is lacking, but you do need to make sure there is enough space for parents to shop in.
 

Not portraying the school’s ’brand’: why go to the expense of producing a glossy brochure for prospective parents and have the school shop doing you a disservice? Schools invest a lot of money to convey a certain image and it is important that the school shop lives up to expectations and reflects that image.
 

Lack of an online shopping site: with so many parents nowadays living away from the family home and some residing overseas, schools really need to have their uniform available for parents to buy online 24/7. Stevensons has seen a large increase in parents based overseas buying uniform online for their sons and daughters attending British schools.

Outsourcing  - a realistic solution?

Our experience of school shops over the past few years is that although many schools think they like to maintain control of the shop, the reality is that the cost in man hours to the bursary in administering the shop is considerable, and often comes at a time when there are many other pressing matters which need Bursary attention.

Having a third party manage the school shop can work really well for schools, however check your supplier can:

• fit out the shop to provide a smart and modern shopping environment
• take on the responsibility of staffing the school shop, taking over the employment of present staff under TUPE
• provide EPOS and broadband technology for gathering live sales data and to control stock replenishment
• take over existing uniform stock
• provide opening hours as required to cover the needs of both the school and its parents
• provide an online and telesales ordering facility.

Outsourcing to a well known retailer such as Stevensons gives schools the knowledge that their shop is being run by an experienced retail organisation, with their only expenses being payment of rates, light and heat due on the shop premises.  The continued employment of any current members of staff, who know the school’s uniform and the parents, and cares very much about the service given, ensures a successful operation. 

About Stevensons

For further info about Stevenson’s school shop service, contact us on 01727 815715.
Stevensons & Len Smiths provide on campus shops at schools throughout the UK, supplying over 200 independent and state schools with all their school uniform and sportswear needs. Other than school shops, parents can order from Stevensons’ retail shops, online catalogue, mail order service, pop up shops and direct supply schools’ service.

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School Shop