Back-To-School Black Hole

Wooldridges Collapse

Jacaranda Closed


The demise of Wooldridges and Jacaranda, has left a giant "black hole" in the Back-To-School market  in WA, SA, NT and ACT, with teachers organisations, industry bodies and even Publishers in those states expressing concern over how students are going to get the supplies they need in the coming Back-To-School season.

Where did they go wrong? Was it their strategy or the execution? Probably a bit of both?

Or did they just get too big?

  As quoted in the West Australian Newspaper, Wooldridges attempted to provision the booklist orders they`d received from "two rented pavilions at the Claremont Showgrounds where Wooldridges had hired about 140 staff to "bag" the products for delivery to schools and students."

You don`t have to be Einstein to work out what a logistical nightmare this presents, even if the stock they needed had arrived.

Our experience in the Back-To-School market over the last 7 years has shown that it is best done at a local level.  Booklist packs are bulky items and our research shows that both parents and schools prefer to deal with local suppliers who are part of their community.

One of the impediments to local businesses entering the School Booklist market has been accessing the technology to enable a booklist season to run efficiently.  The focus of is to provide these small-medium businesses with software tools to effectively manage the season from start to finish.

Even something as simple as using email communications to notify parents that the lists are available or remind them that the cut-off date is approaching makes a big difference.  The booklist orders are received earlier which makes it much easier for the booklist suppliers to order the stock they need.  The automated "pick list" report ensures that the pick-and-pack process is handled in the most efficient manner possible.

Feedback from the Schools has been extremely positive, they think it`s great to have a local supplier create an online list of ALL the requirements each child needs, including the things that they`ll need to purchase from the P&C or school canteen. Time poor Parents love ordering online for pick-up or delivery and knowing that their child with have everything they need.

It`s about local businesses with local knowledge servicing their local community.  It simply uses the power of the internet to do so, providing an excellent level of service to the schools and parents alike.

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