Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



June 2013: Win the Window Contest

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 6/3/13 3:30 AM
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High school graduates often have a mile-long wish list as they head off to college. From dorm decor to textbooks, there’s a lot they need to start the next phase in their educational career. To gather all these supplies, however, parents often have to shop around at several stores and even rely on graduation gifts to fill in the gaps. What if there was a way to make it easier for families to stock up while gaining the revenue from all those sales at your store? Now, there is! We have an option available for stores using MBS Systems Gift Registry and for those without the application; read on to learn more.Header.jpg

For Stores Using MBS Systems Gift Registry

The Idea

Create a window display of store items such as school supplies, branded merchandise and dorm decor for display during freshmen orientation. Offer students a chance win the entire display by creating a gift registry of the items they’d like to purchase at your store. The contest will not only gain you extra sales, but also build loyalty with the incoming class.

Step 1: Set Your Parameters

Take some time to create the foundation of your promotion by answering the following questions:

When will the contest run?

Choose a start and end date that works with your schedule. We suggest advertising the contest a week before your freshmen orientation sessions begin and ending a few weeks after the event, to allow ample time for purchases from the registry.

What items will your window display include?

Choose a “back-to-school survival theme,” with items such as school supplies, textbooks and branded merchandise or go with a “get to know campus” theme, featuring products from some of the most popular stores and restaurants in town. If you’re feeling ambitious, combine the two concepts for an even more exciting window display!

How much will the display be worth?

Estimate the total value of all the items to include in your marketing pieces.

What will the winners receive?

The grand prize winner should receive the items showcased in your window display; however, you could elect to award additional participants with in-store gift cards, textbook scholarships or other prizes to increase the impact.

How will students enter?

We suggest having each student receive one entry for simply making a gift registry. Once the registry has been created, students will receive a link that they can send to family and friends to view their wishlist. Consider having them email your store with this link as well as their name and possibly ID number to enter the contest. To increase interaction, your store could award an additional entry to each student for “liking” your Facebook page or following some other social account. This strategy will allow you to continue to communicate with the incoming class throughout the term.

Will there be requirements for your registry?

We suggest asking students to add at least 10 items to their registry, so that they take the time to search through your stock and get excited about all that you have to offer. Be sure to include any limit you set in your marketing materials.

How will you monitor entries?

Discuss the best way to calculate the results with your staff and choose employees to manage the project. Use our Excel Sheet template as an easy way to get started.

Make a column where you can input all students who send you their Registry link and another where you can tabulate if they’ve followed your page. Then, try picking one day a week when a designated staff member will check your social pages and add the results to your master list. We suggest that at least two staff members oversee the initiative to ensure accurate numbers.

Step 2: Source the Display Products

Search through your overstock or marked down merchandise to find low-cost products that could appeal to new students. Talk with your vendors about donating promotional items, too.

Step 3: Assemble the Window

Position the display in the most eye-catching location possible, ideally in an area that can be seen to passersby, such as a front store window. If this space isn’t available, place your display near the front entrance.

Step 4: Partner with Other Campus Departments

Talk with the groups involved in planning and hosting your campus’ orientation events. Ask them to include the details of your contest, as well as other informational sheets about buying and selling textbooks, in any packets that they may provide to students. Use our flyer to make your job easy: just download, customize and print, then send to the appropriate contact!

Step 5: Advertise to Students

 Let students and their families in on the fun! Post information about your contest on multiple channels to help spread the word. We’ve created a customizable poster, Facebook Cover Photo and web image to get you started.

We’ve also created a customizable mailer that you can send to the incoming class’ parents. With the thought of college tuition looming in their future, parents are likely to respond to the prospect of free merchandise and encourage their students to participate! Be sure to investigate further marketing opportunities, such as Facebook groups dedicated to the freshmen class, and post your contest information there, as well.

Download the entire promotional kit here.

Step 6: Let the Contest Begin!

Keep students motivated to complete their registries throughout the contest by posting reminders to your social channels and talking with new students during each orientation session at your campus. The earlier they get in the habit of shopping at your store, the better!

Step 7: Choose the Winner

Randomly choose one winner, or more depending on the parameters you set in step 1, on your selected end date. You can use services like Random.org or Randompicker.com to automatically choose an individual. If you want to keep the process in-house, however, you can also draw a random number from a hat and name the corresponding individual on your Excel spreadsheet as your winner.

Step 8: Announce the Winner

Announce the exciting news to students! Contact the winner individually and post their picture with the big winnings to Facebook and other social media pages to enhance the impact!

For Other Stores

The Idea

Create a window display of store items such as school supplies, branded merchandise and dorm decor for display during freshmen orientation. Offer students a chance win the entire display, or large prizes featured within it, by signing up for textbook reservation at your store. The contest will not only help you beat the competition and gain extra sales, but also build loyalty with the incoming class.

Step 1: Set Your Parameters

Take some time to create the foundation of your promotion by answering the following questions:

When will the contest run?

Choose a start and end date that works with your schedule. We suggest advertising the contest a week before your freshmen orientation sessions begin and ending it at least a week afterward, to allow time for freshmen to sign up, once they’ve returned home.

What items will your window display include?

Choose a “back-to-school survival theme,” with items such as school supplies, textbooks and branded merchandise or go with a “get to know campus” theme, featuring items from some of the most popular stores and restaurants in town. If you’re feeling ambitious, combine the two concepts, for an even more exciting window display!

How much will the display be worth?

Estimate the total value of all the items to include in your marketing pieces.

What will the winners receive?

The grand prize winner should receive the items showcased in your window display; however, you could elect to award other participants with in-store gift cards, textbook scholarships or other prizes to increase the impact.

How will students enter?

We suggest having each student receive one entry for simply signing up for textbook reservations and an additional entry for “liking” your Facebook page or following some other social account. This strategy will allow you to continue to communicate with the incoming class throughout the term.

How will you monitor entries?

Discuss the best way to calculate the results with your staff and choose employees to manage the project. The easiest way to keep track of entrants is through an Excel Spread Sheet. We’ve created a template to make it easy.

Make a column where you can input all students who sign up for Textbook Reservation and another where you can tabulate if they’ve followed your page. Then, try picking one day a week when a designated staff member will check your social pages and add the results to your master list. We suggest that at least two staff members oversee the initiative to ensure accurate numbers.

Download: Textbook Reservation Kit
Download: Textbook Reservation Kit
Download the Textbook Reservation Kit

Step 2: Source the Display Products

Search through your overstock or marked down merchandise to find low-cost products that could appeal to new students. Talk with your vendors about donating promotional items, too.

Step 3: Assemble the Window

Position the display in the most eye-catching location possible, ideally in an area that can be seen to passersby, such as a store window. If this space isn’t available, place your display near the front entrance.

Step 4: Partner with Other Campus Departments

Talk with the groups involved in planning and hosting your campus’ orientation events. Ask them to include the details of your contest, as well as other informational sheets about buying and selling textbooks, in any packets that they may provide to students. Use our flyer to make your job easy: Just download, customize and print, then send to the appropriate contact!

Step 5: Advertise to Students

Let students and their families in on the fun! Post information about your contest on multiple channels to help spread the word. We’ve created a poster, Facebook Cover Photo and web image to get you started.

We’ve also created a mailer that you can send to the incoming class’ parents. With the thought of college tuition looming in their future, parents are likely to respond to the prospect of free merchandise and encourage their students to participate! Be sure to investigate further marketing opportunities, such as Facebook groups dedicated to the freshmen class, and post your contest information there, as well.

Download the entire promotional kit here.

Step 6: Let the Contest Begin!

Keep students motivated to sign up for textbook reservation throughout the contest by posting reminders to your social channels and talking about the benefits with new students during each orientation session at your campus. The earlier they get in the habit of buying textbooks at your store, the better!

Step 7: Choose the Winner

Randomly choose one winner, or more, depending on the parameters you set in step 1, on your selected end date. You can use services like Random.org or Randompicker.com to automatically choose an individual. If you want to keep the process in-house, however, you can also draw a random number from a hat and name the corresponding individual on your Excel sheet as your winner.

Step 8: Announce the Winner

Announce the exciting news to students! Contact the winner individually and post their picture with the big winnings to Facebook and other social media pages to enhance the impact!

About Stephanie Kubas

Stephanie was our former MBS Marketing Communications Manager. She helped Foreword Online evolve from simple reposts from other industry-related sites, to original content sourced directly from our college stores. Although she no longer writes for Foreword Online, it still holds a special place in her heart.

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