Posts tagged MBS POS
Since last October, University Book Store at University of Wisconsin – Madison has been under renovation. The 20,000 square foot remodel focused on adding space to their selling area and creating a more retail-centric atmosphere. The results, according to director Kevin Phelps, are phenomenal.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in clothing and gift sales over the years, so we went where the dollars are,” he explained. “For that reason, a big part of the expansion was increasing our main sales floor. We tripled the area devoted to apparel and merchandise.”
The renovations resolved issues that had impeded traffic in the past, improving the overall experience for customers. For instance, shopping during busy events like game days was previously difficult because the floor was so packed with merchandise. Racks held two or three items, further reducing product visibility. So, when their location expanded, that was one of the first items Phelps and his staff addressed.
“We went section by section through the sales floor and adjusted each area to maximize its effectiveness. Now, there’s ample room to browse and everything has its own place; the transformation is truly amazing,” he emphasized.
The updates also presented the perfect opportunity to restructure the store’s layout.
“Our cash wrap area has been in the same place since 1972, and it was time for a change,” he described. “During the renovation, we reassessed everything and basically started over. We moved our entrance to face one of the busiest pedestrian corners on campus and situated our POS systems and checkout lanes accordingly.”
With an enhanced floor plan, the store has also been able to increase their offerings.
“Greek items, collegiate gifts, clothing; you name it, we have it!” Phelps added.
They’ve also added concept shops from big brands like Adidas, Jansport and Champion, giving the store a more retail-oriented experience. Despite the new focus, Phelps wanted to ensure that the look and feel of the store still reflected the campus atmosphere.
“We wanted students to know that they were coming into the official bookstore, so there are large lifestyle pictures hung throughout the store” he said. “The overall look is really neat; it’s bright, clean and definitely gives you the feeling that you’re in a fan shop.”
At their Grand Re-Opening event, held in early May, the store debuted the changes to their most important critics: their customers. And, the response they received was overwhelming. With thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members in attendance, they initiated their new location with a bang!
“’Wow’ was the first thing out of most people’s mouths as they entered,” Phelps described. “It’s such a drastic change and a completely new experience. The feedback has been amazing.”
Customers’ enthusiasm for the updated location was reflected in sales, as well. The store experienced sales that day that rivaled a big home football game.
“We were thrilled to receive such a positive reaction from the public,” Phelps said. “I think that the renovations will have a lasting impact on both sales and traffic. People are excited to come by and see us and that’s always a good thing!”
In the following excerpt, from the article Making Omni-Channel Retailing A Reality, the author, Michael Griffiths of MicrosoftDynamics, highlights the importance of creating a united system in today’s changing world of retail. See what Griffiths has to say below, then read the full article on Forbes.com for more information on how omni-channel retailing is impacting the industry.
Just about everyone in the business is talking about “omni-channel” retailing—an approach that transcends multi-channel retailing, to connect the web, mobile, and brick-and-mortar channels into a truly seamless customer experience. It’s what customers are coming to expect and, when done right, can provide sellers with greater visibility into customer behavior, allowing the retailer to understand (and influence) the customer journey across channels.
The key to succeeding in omni-channel retailing is understanding the new role of the store: the central representation of your brand. This means that no matter which channel the customer is using to reach you—brick and mortar, online, or mobile—your customers see your store as a single, transparent system rather than multiple channels with separate inventory, processing, and delivery systems.
The combination of multiple channels, markets, and devices highlights the most significant challenge of all: real omni-channel execution and insight in a world of applications that were not built to work together. How can retailers take advantage of additional channels, emerging markets, and new opportunities for growth when traditional business applications just aren’t up to the task?
Omni-channel retail may sound like a challenge, but offering your customer a seamless experience across channels, is easy with the help of MBS. Our POS, e-commerce solution, mobile application, accounting, analytics, text management applications and more are all tightly integrated, so you can create a cohesive customer experience with little effort. Talk to your MBS Systems Sales consultant about the solutions we offer and how we can help your store go omnichannel.
The following excerpt, from the article How JC Penney is using iPod Touches to revamp customer service in 1,100 stores, was written by Todd R. Weiss and published on CiteWorld.com. View the full article for more information on how JC Penney is using their mobile technology and their future plans for the POS option.
Before they begin their work shifts selling merchandise each day, sales associates in J.C. Penney’s 1,100 stores across the United States now have to be sure that they head onto the sales floor with a work-issued Apple iPod Touch on their belt.
They’re not carrying the devices for their music and entertainment value, of course. Instead, since November 2012, J.C. Penney has been giving salespeople the devices so they can help shoppers anywhere inside the stores.
“It’s a customer service initiative,” said Kate Coultas, a spokesperson for the 111-year-old retailer. “We want to make the process of shopping at J.C. Penney as easy and seamless as possible.”
“Our associates want to be able to be out on the floor helping customers,” said Coultas. “It doesn’t help if they are stuck behind the registers. Now, if you are on the floor, you need to have an iPod Touch with you.”
The iPods were first distributed back in November and are in about one-quarter of Penney stores. The full rollout to all of the stores is expected to be completed by the end of this month, said Coultas.
So far, the devices have been a big hit with the company’s salespeople, she said.
“Some have nicknamed them ‘Libby,’ for ‘Libby the Liberator’ because they can be assisting customers without being chained down to a register,” said Coultas.
Penney’s salespeople can scan purchases and check them out using their iPod Touch. The devices are equipped in a special plastic case that incorporates a UPC code scanner and a credit card swiping device, so customers never have to go to a cash register counter. Customers can “sign” their purchases using their fingertip on the screen.
“This is great because it’s an easy way for them to check-out and because they don’t have to wait in line,” said Coultas. “It was definitely a great success for us on Black Friday last year. On Black Friday, associates would just walk up to people in line and say, ‘hey, I can check you out right now.’ Customers loved it.”
While the cash registers will never disappear entirely, the iPod Touch devices are a wave of the future for Penney’s as the company moves to introduce the new mobile check-out option to consumers, said Coultas.
In some of the specialty shops being built inside some Penney’s stores, such as Levi’s shops, the company is also experiminting with Apple iPad tablets for customer interactions, she said.
Overall, the program so far has been a smash-hit, said Coultas. “The issue was delivering better customer service and we were able to do that through this initiative.”
Mobile POS isn’t only available to big name brands like JC Penney. MBS can help your store go mobile with three unique options including one that operates through the iPod Touch! Talk with your Systems Representative for more details.
The women’s shoe department at Nordstrom’s flagship store in Seattle is bustling. Shoppers are trying on everything from stilettos to rain boots — and when they’re ready to buy, they can pay up right where they are.
The sales associate simply whips out a modified iPod Touch and scans the shoe box’s bar code. The handheld device contains a credit card reader, too, so the customer can just hand over the plastic and sign with a fingertip. There’s no trek to the cash register and no line to wait in.
At department stores like Nordstrom and at other traditional retailers, mobile devices are slowly beginning to supplement, and even replace, other methods of payment. In many cases, buying something is becoming more efficient and more personal.
No More ‘Clunky’ Cash Registers
“We think the days of the big clunky cash register … anchoring down a department are really going away,” says Colin Johnson, public relations director for Nordstrom.
“We are always going to have a place for the cash and we’ll certainly take care of however the customer wants to pay,” Johnson says. “But we do see the future as essentially completely mobile.”
Mobile payments certainly make shopping easier. And while customers like it, retailers benefit, too. When shoppers pay on the spot, they don’t have time to change their mind and decide they don’t really need what they are about to buy.
In addition to boosting sales, mobile technology is often less expensive than the old-fashioned kind. And removing cash registers also frees up valuable real estate inside the store, say industry experts like Brian Brunk of Boston Retail Partners.
“There isn’t a retailer we talk to that isn’t embracing at least a blended, if not an ‘all-in,’ approach to mobile point-of-sale,” Brunk says.
But the changes taking place in retail go well beyond checking out via handheld device, he adds.
“You have to embrace the online — the digital world,” Brunk says. “It’s really now, how are you going to blend those two together? Because that’s what the customer is really expecting.”
Getting Goods To Customers Who Want Them
Take inventory, for example. It wasn’t all that long ago, says Nordstrom’s Colin Johnson, that customers found it charming when a clerk called around to different stores in search of an out-of-stock item.
But “those days are long gone,” Johnson says. “You’ve got to be rapid, you’ve got to be on the spot. You have to have that information at your fingertips.”
Or, more precisely, on an iPod — which is how shopper Amidy Doolittle purchased some glittery flats and a pair of suede shoes. “I just had [the clerk] order some shoes that weren’t available in the store,” Doolittle explains. “He looked them up on his mobile device, and I paid sitting right here in my chair.”
What’s most remarkable about Doolittle’s purchase is that the sales clerk had access to Nordstrom’s entire companywide inventory on his device.
While that might sound pretty basic to many shoppers, Kasey Lobaugh, a retail expert at Deloitte Consulting, says some retailers have struggled to integrate inventories of in-store and online products.
All too often, Lobaugh says, shoppers would be told their desired item was out of stock, when the retailer did, in fact, have the goods.
And in another plus for retailers, he says, “If you are able to fulfill the item from the place where the items are turning the slowest, you’re able to decrease the markdowns that you have to take” if you were to sell that item at its original location.
In other words, winter jackets languishing in a Florida store can be quickly shipped to a Seattle shopper — and sold at full price.
Yet another change under way relates to something you see all the time: the practice known as “showrooming.” Increasingly, customers with smartphones are checking out products and competitors’ prices online as they roam the aisles of brick-and-mortar stores.
Early on, Lobaugh says, some retailers were unhappy about the trend and weren’t keen to embrace it.
But “our data would say don’t resist it,” Lobaugh notes. “Give them the capability. Enable Wi-Fi in your store so that the consumer can access more information, because the conversion rate goes up,” he says — meaning, smartphone-toting customers who do research on the sales floor are actually much more likely to make a purchase.
And by 2016, Deloitte projects, roughly one in five consumers will be using their smartphones in precisely that way.
Ready to go mobile? MBS can help! Our suite of mobile solutions, including the latest MBS iPad POS, can free your store from traditional retail boundaries, giving you the freedom to bust lines at rush or setup checkup at any campus location with a wireless connection. For more information on our mobile offerings, talk to your MBS Representative.
With competition in the collegiate retail industry continuously increasing, college stores need to maintain top-quality customer service to stand out from the crowd. So, when Utah Valley University Bookstore recently sent out an RFP for a new system, that’s one of the first aspects that they took into consideration.
“We were looking for technology capable of helping us expand upon our current level of customer service with new features to offer to our students, such as mobility,” Louise Bridge, general manager, explained. “We were also very focused on finding a system that was PCI compliant and could help us easily develop a strong online presence though a webpage.”
After hearing on-campus presentations from three distinct systems providers, UVU Bookstore found the MBS System to be the best fit for their specific needs.
“We’ve had a great relationship with MBS for several years and that played a role in our decision,” she said. “But, it ultimately came down to the technology and their system was superior in the features that we needed.”
From the start, Bridge was astounded at the implementation team’s estimated installation date.
“When MBS told me that we were going to have the system live in three weeks, I thought they must be kidding!” she admitted. “But, we did it! They were great!”
Throughout implementation, the store’s staff was trained on the system to ensure they would be ready to make the transition.
“They taught us so much in such a short period of time and it was very hands-on, which helped a lot,” Bridge added. “The POS is very intuitive so we learned that in no time! There were several modules, however, that we’ve never had before, so there was a bit of a learning curve. In the end, they’ve made our job so much easier though, so it’s all worth it!”
After becoming accustomed to the systems’ extensive available features, the staff has found many benefits.
“Inventory is so much simpler now,” she said. “The cashiers love the fact that the registers are touch screen, and students love that they allow us to take debit cards. We had pinpads before, but they would frequently go down and would only accept credit, so that’s been wonderful and has really enhanced our perception on campus!”
UVU Bookstore has seen the benefits of the MBS system extend outside the store, too!
“With our handheld iPod Touches, we’ve been able to take merchandise to other school events around campus and sell it there,” she added. “It’s been great; we love having that option!”
Although she appreciates the enhanced functionality the system has brought to the store, Bridge attributes much of the success of her MBS partnership to the continued support she’s received.
“It’s been unbelievable, we’re very pleased,” she explained. “I can’t say enough positive things about the support, the service, and the system in general. It’s exactly what we needed and we’re very glad we made the decision that we did!”
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The competition for student business is only increasing in the collegiate retail industry. And, for many, the effects are easy to see. Finding a solution, on the other hand, can be much more of a challenge.
Never one to rest on her laurels, however, Mary Tutalo, assistant director of Blue Colt Bookstore, decided it was time to take action after realizing early last year that many of her students were shopping elsewhere.
“We were losing sales, so I knew needed to find a way to make the bookstore a rewarding place to go again,” she explained. “We wanted to create a common sense of belonging here, something that would make our students want to come back.”
One way they have been able to achieve that vision is through the addition of the Colt Loyalty Rewards Program, powered by the MBS Systems Loyalty module. Implementing the program last year, Tutalo has seen it expand into something the store can truly use as a selling point.
“When we were first starting out, we researched what other college stores were doing to try to help guide us in building the framework of the program,” she said. “We decided to keep it as simple as possible so that students could easily understand and embrace it. I think that’s the key to the success of any program.”
Offering one point for every dollar spent both in store and online, students are able to select merchandise from Blue Colt Bookstore’s online catalog when redeeming their points. With very few restrictions, the program is easy to join and easy to follow.
As with many new services, however, their loyalty program didn’t take off over night and the staff had to put extra effort into creating a marketing strategy that effectively spread the word.
“It was a slow start,” she added. “We began by advertising it with signs in store and on our website, but weren’t seeing the response we wanted.”
From there, Tutalo and her staff have worked tirelessly to find creative ways to promote the program and, ultimately, gain new members.
“Because we have so many student employees, we started by getting them involved in the program. We wanted them to understand the benefits for themselves,” she explained. “Once they saw how great it was, they began recruiting others to join by going around the store and just explaining how it worked from their point of view. Word of mouth is really powerful and students listen to what their peers have to say, so it was extremely effective!”
Taking it a step further, she then built on this success by adding new media into the mix.
“We added QR codes to each employees’ name tag that linked to the loyalty page on our website,” Tutalo said. “That way, when they’re describing the program to customers, they can sign them up for the program on the spot just by scanning the code!”
For those who didn’t interact with an employee on the sales floor, cashiers were provided with flyers to hand out featuring the same QR code.
“It gave students a chance to take it home and easily sign up for it on their own time if they weren’t comfortable doing it in store,” she added.
These innovative images are placed on shelf talkers, too, to ensure students understand the value loyalty adds to their purchases.
“Our signs tell them the amount of points they’ll earn based on the price on the product,” she said. “We want them to see that added value when considering the purchase.”
As yet another option, the store also offers an interactive approach to advertising, with an extra register dedicated to loyalty member registration.
“We keep one MBS POS open and facing towards the customers,” she explained. “That way, students can literally sign up using the touch screen while they’re waiting in line to check out.”
Adding to the interaction, they’ve even incorporated loyalty into their buyback event.
“We had a bean bag toss at our buy and offered students 25 loyalty points for each bag they made through the board,” she said. “We’re trying everything we can to encourage students to sign up and it’s really paying off!”
With over a thousand participating members, Tutalo is actively achieving her goal of bringing student business back to the store.
“The students absolutely love it,” she added. “They’re coming back here because they feel like they’re getting an added value. It’s something they can’t find at all those other competitors and that’s important both to their satisfaction and to our success.”
Have questions about implementing a loyalty program? Don’t hesitate to contact your MBS Representative.
If you are looking for an affordable way to increase sales and encourage repeat business, look no further than your paper roll receipt. In the past, a point of sale (POS) receipt was simply used as a proof of purchase.
Many POS terminals (including the MBS System) now offer the capability to print custom messages on every receipt. This low cost tool makes it possible for you to market to your customers, every time they purchase from you.
There are two areas of the receipt that you can print a custom message: the header and the footer. Just printing the bare minimum is a missed opportunity to do some inexpensive and highly effective marketing.
Here are several ways a printed receipt can increase your profitability:
A receipt is the perfect place for you to further promote your company. At a minimum, your website (if you have one) and logo should be included on every receipt. From there, the next step is to add a call to action. This is simply a reason for the customer to shop at your establishment again or visit your website. Receipt marketing is a simple way for you to stand out from the competition and build company recognition.
Build your e-mail database by directing your customers to register on your website for an e-newsletter, special promotion or sale notification. This will allow you the ability to further communicate with the customer and stay in the forefront of their mind. As an incentive to register, try offering a discount or coupon for completing the sign-up process.
Specials are a great way to drive incremental revenue and increase guest frequency. Do you want to increase sales on Tuesdays, which is normally your slowest day of the week? Offer a special if they visit your location on that specific day. Try promoting a limited time offer on a new product to boost product visibility.
Promote Special Events
Increase awareness of your anniversary events, holiday promotions and clearance sales by adding information to the bottom of the receipt. Clear out excess inventory and previous season stock with the added foot traffic you will receive. You can go one step further by including a special coupon code that can be redeemed for added savings.
If you are looking to hire new employees, why not advertise on your receipts? It’s an inexpensive way to inform your customers of opportunities to work for you. With the average cost to find and hire a new employee at $1,500 or more, this additional advertising method is certainly a money saver.
Educate Your Employees
Now that you have some pointers on how you can market to your customers, you want to be sure that the customer sees the message. It is vital that you train your staff to point out the message by circling or highlighting it with a marker in order to increase read rates.
For more information on how to personalize your receipts, talk with your MBS Systems representative.
Change is an inevitable occurrence in any industry and, with an abundance of new trends, technologies, and competition, collegiate retail is certainly no exception. Many often assume, however, that change is a word to be feared, a threat. But Patty Clark, manager of Commodore Books and More at Lorain County Community College, believes just the opposite.
“I hear so many people saying that printed books are going away so we’re all going to lose our customers and be forced to shut our doors; but that’s just not the case. If anything, I see this as a chance to grow my business!” Clark explained. “You just have to view each challenge as a new opportunity.”
As a relatively new manager, Clark has used this optimistic outlook to construct a new vision for her store, determined to transform it well beyond the confines of a traditional bookstore. Her obvious passion couldn’t have come at a better time, either.
With recent renovations and a new location, the store welcomed a rebranded image!
“Our store moved from the back of the college to the very front of campus, so it has full exposure and is now the first thing you see as you walk in,” Clark explained. “Plus, we doubled our square footage so we have a lot more room to work with, which has opened up lots of new opportunities.”
With this additional space, the store’s layout underwent significant changes, as well.
“It’s what some call a supermarket layout,” she added. “When you walk in, the first thing you see is trade books. Textbooks, however, are all the way in back. So, if students are looking for bread and milk, or in this case, textbooks, they have to walk through the rest of the store first and are hopefully picking up other merchandise along the way.”
That approach has served the store well. In fact, they have recently increased revenues tremendously, allowing them to provide more students with scholarship opportunities.
“Our staff is working to create excitement about the expansion of our student support with a new logo for the store,” she explained. “It will be a way to represent the message that the money they spend at Commodore Books and More will stay on campus and benefit the students of LCCC.”
Beyond design, Clark has initiated several more intrinsic changes within the store, including a shift in focus to providing students with a more customer-centric atmosphere.
For instance, the store is in the process of developing an Advisory Board made up of students, faculty members, and staff of the college to determine how they can better meet the needs of their customer base.
“We’re also trying to incorporate a Walt Disney approach to customer service,” she added. “We make sure every guest receives a friendly and genuine greeting when they arrive and an enjoyable experience while they’re in the store. So, we’ve done a lot of new promotions lately to create that kind of atmosphere. My ultimate goal is to make our store a fun place for customers to visit.”
One aspect of that service includes ensuring that the store provides a quick and simple shopping experience for each student. For Commodore Books and More, that efficiency is found, in part, through the MBS system.
“Although we’ve had the MBS POS for several years, the store hadn’t been truly using all the tools that it has to offer to their full potential,” Clark admitted. “We had the Cadillac, but we weren’t taking it on the road!”
Realizing its impact on the store, she has since put extensive effort into taking full advantage of the technology.
“MBS has been a huge help in that process and, now, we’re really seeing the far-reaching benefits of the system!” she explained.
Furthering customer service, Clark has also worked diligently to expand the store’s partnerships with other departments on campus. For instance, they plan to begin carrying welding equipment and nursing clothes to meet the needs of more specialized fields.
“We want to cater to all students,” she explained.
Reinforcing that commitment, she has incorporated several kid-friendly features specifically designed for the college’s many single-parent students, as well.
“A lot of our customers come shopping with their young children, so we created a Kids Corner to keep them occupied while their parents are in line and it’s been a big success,” she said. “The children will color and many times, I find that the parents are even coloring too! It’s an activity all ages can enjoy.”
Moreover, Clark also organizes events for children at her store on occasion.
“We have Mother Goose come in every so often for an hour-long story time, so that parents can use that time to shop,” she added. “The Easter Bunny came in for pictures and more than likely Santa will show up at the store this December.”
Another festive event at the store is National Community College Month, celebrated each April. With an array of exciting activities scheduled, the store marketed the event as a way to increase awareness about their offerings.
“The staff did a tremendous amount of work planning everything and really seemed to enjoy watching it all play out,” she said. “I have been blessed with the best employees, and the success of the store is due to their devotion and creativity.”
Along with her dedication to meeting student needs, Clark believes that the store’s services shouldn’t just be reserved for students at Lorain County Community College.
“I’ve been reaching out beyond campus in hopes of making the store a resource for the entire community,” she explained. “We’ve started inviting organizations from around the city to hold their events here, which creates an audience of potential customers for us, and loyalty to our college and store, for them. It’s really a win-win situation.”
This mentality fueled the addition of several new products and services at Commodore Books and More, differentiating it from conventional college stores. As a prime example, they recently incorporated a campus-authorized Apple Store. Always going the extra mile, though, Clark took this a step further.
“We don’t make a very big margin from technology products, but we decided to sell them to give our store a cutting-edge image,” she explained. “So, I was looking for a way to cross-sell another service that would increase our margin.”
Reaching out to two of her student employees, Clark asked for help in designing a business plan for a computer servicing program, which was already in the works as part of the store’s contract with Apple. This strategy ultimately allowed them to cut down on costs while helping students gain valuable experience.
Run similar to the Genius Bar at any Apple Store, Clark’s program is managed entirely by students, too!
“I have two Computer Science majors working in the program right now and it’s been great. They get experience while the store benefits from offering yet another program that creates a happy customer!” she said. “Traffic has been phenomenal! It’s one more way we’re positioning our store for growth and opening up our business as a resource to the community.”
After seeing the success of this endeavor, she has explored several other ways to integrate products that may have widespread appeal.
“We just started carrying balloons,” Clark explained. “Students had mentioned that they often needed them for celebrations and didn’t like having to leave campus to get them, so I thought why not?!”
Surprisingly, it’s an addition that has really taken off!
“It’s been so popular and very profitable!” she added. “Customers come in to get a balloon and often end up picking up a gift while they’re here, too. Any product you can cross-sell and use to create a repeat customer is a good one in my mind!”
Because she has clearly achieved major change in an astoundingly short amount of time, Clark has inspired many of her peers. In fact, she recently had the honor of sharing her accomplishments with others in the industry while hosting the NACS Community College Summit.
“It was such an interesting experience,” she said. “We all collaborated and shared our visions for each of our stores through roundtable discussions. It was so great hear everyone’s feedback and support. In fact, they all seemed to believe that, with my passion, my goal of making Commodore Books and More one of the top college stores of the future was completely possible!”
It’s that passion that Clark believes is the key to any store’s success.
“You should never say ‘no’ to a new idea, your only thought should be ‘how can I achieve it?’” she advised. “If you’re excited about what you’re doing and truly believe in it, you can grow your business!”
And, that’s just what she plans to do.
“There’s so much potential in our industry! Our roles may change and our percentages may shift, but we’re not going anywhere!” she stressed. “I know my staff and I will be the future of Commodore Books and More; I refuse the alternative!”
Clark stresses, however, that she couldn’t have made such strides without the encouragement and assistance she has received along the way.
“I credit my success to having LCCC’s administration fully support and recognize the added value that this bookstore brings to our college,” she explained.
“For instance, Dr. Roy Church, president of the college, regularly showcases the store when he has visitors meeting with him here on campus. It makes the staff realize that they make a difference on campus when the President stops in to visit the store and recognizes the staff,” she added.
Above all, however, Clark is thankful for being given the opportunity to pursue her true passion and, ultimately, make a difference on campus.
“My immediate boss, Mr. David Cummings, took a real risk when he hired someone who had no past bookstore experience as the manager,” she said. “I plan to do everything possible to ensure that the trust he placed in me will pay off in the future and that we accomplish all of our goals!”
With so many consumer options available it can be difficult to keep students coming back to your store. For this reason, loyal customers are a retailer’s biggest asset when it comes to staying competitive, and rewarding these repeat visitors is essential to continued success.
“Bookstores, in general, often get a bad rap from students,” explained Julie Feiring, UMD Stores marketing and sales manager at University of Minnesota-Duluth. “But, we truly do care about providing them the best value and service possible! So, anything we can do to demonstrate that to students and better our image in their mind is important to us.”
“To be honest, it wasn’t a program we necessarily sought out on our own,” said Feiring. “But, when we saw a demonstration of the new feature, we immediately saw the potential. It gave us another chance to thank students for their business and that’s something we’re always more than willing to do!”
Finding a structure that worked for them, the store rolled out their program in the spring of 2009, offering students one point for every dollar spent, with virtually no restrictions. After accruing 1000 points, students can then redeem them for a $10 giftcard to be used on store merchandise.
“We decided that the simpler the program was, the better,” she said. “There’s nothing more frustrating than having reward points and not being able to use them how or when you want, so we felt that a less restricted program would be better received. Students can collect and use points on everything from textbooks to laptops.”
That simplicity turned out to be one of the program’s best selling points, according to Feiring.
“Students love being able to accrue loyalty points without having to remember a list of restrictions,” she said. “We’ve heard from so many that they appreciate the ease of the program.”
Starting off relatively slow, the store originally promoted the program through their website.
“We gained a couple hundred students through that strategy,” she added. “To increase participants, we decided to automatically enroll any student who registered for textbook reservation, using their student number. We didn’t want them to miss out on points for what is often their largest purchase of the semester. It worked out really well!”
Since then, however, their marketing strategies have only expanded.
“Now, we promote the program with everything we do!” she explained. “One of the most successful ways we’ve found to educate students is through a rack of full-color cards in our store. They both highlight the benefits of the programs as well as offer step-by-step instructions on how students can participate.”
Currently boasting over 7500 loyalty members, UMD Stores’ program has certainly been a success. But the store has no plans to limit themselves to their current achievements.
“The next step for us will be integrating the loyalty module with buyback so students can earn points for selling their books back to the store,” Feiring added. “So far, the program has been great and we’ve had lots of positive feedback; I look forward to seeing it continue to grow!”
Want to know more about the our Loyalty Program? Talk with your MBS Systems Representative for more information!
In the article ‘Bricks’ Still Strong in a ‘Clicks’ World, published in NACS’ June 17 edition of the Campus Marketplace e-newsletter by Michael von Glahn, Editor of The College Store magazine, CAMEX attendees identified a list of both positive and negative issues affecting the collegiate retail industry.
Expanding on these ideas, MBS brings you a week-long series addressing several of these concerns and providing solutions as to how your store can enhance key strengths, minimize weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and reposition possible threats
Along with the near-constant changes that affect the collegiate retail industry come wonderful opportunities. Your store must be in a position to adapt ahead of the curve to not only protect your margins from emerging competitors and other challenges, but more importantly, to continue fulfilling the needs of your student customers.
As your partner, we’re here to make that goal as easy as possible to achieve. Because our primary objective is your success, we take pride in equipping your store with the retail solutions you need to stay on top of emerging trends so you can be an industry leader rather than a follower.
Here are three areas we can help enhance your operation:
Offering an online option for your students is an excellent way to extend the reach of your brand. But, you’re not the only retailer taking this approach so your e-commerce site has to stand out from the crowd.
MBS Systems inSite powers your store to effectively contend with other retailers looking to gain your student customers’ business. Our client representatives work with you to create a custom-branded site that will catch your student’s attention.
Plus, when students purchase products from your inSite page, they have the ability to return it in-store, quickly and conveniently. And, no other online retailer in the industry can offer that!
inSite allows your customers to:
•Shop online anytime
•View items and shop easily from their smartphones
•Use student financial aid
•Purchase and reserve their textbooks
•Select in-store merchandise
•Create a wish list of desired items
•Redeem loyalty points
•Share their favorite merchandise across social media sites
•Recommend merchandise with easy product reviews
Faculty members can also use the application to browse textbooks and submit adoptions through Faculty Center Network.
inSite allows your faculty to:
•Access bibliographic information on more than 900,000 textbook titles
•Seamlessly compile adoption lists
•Email adoption lists directly to your store
Many stores worry that e-commerce solutions will be difficult to implement or maintain. inSite, however, doesn’t require any extensive hardware, software, or maintenance and automatically updates any activity in all of your MBS applications.
It’s also a fully integrated part of your total store solution. Any retail activity is automatically and immediately reflected in all of your MBS applications, including your text management system, POS system and general merchandise application.
For more information on how MBS Systems inSite can help your store develop a web presence, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
•Opportunity: Mobile commerce
From freshmen orientation to football games, students are on the move. And now, your store can be too! Don’t wait for the traffic to come to you; bring your store to the students with the MBS iTouch POS Terminal solution.
Combining the powerful MBS POS and Electronic Payment System application with the sleek, intuitive interface of Apple’s iPod Touch, this lightweight mobile computing solution resides within an ergonomic sled that includes a scanner and magnetic strip reader.
The MBS iTouch POS Terminal provides your store with the capability to:
•Accept both credit card and gift card payments
•Wirelessly print a receipt
•Suspend transactions for line-busting
•Offer customers a more user-friendly and engaging purchase experience
Better yet, it’s easy to operate! Because the MBS iTouch POS Terminal runs the same software as the MBS POS for traditional cash registers, the device has essentially the same functionality as the MBS POS register. The MBS iTouch POS Terminal is cost-effective, as well, at as little as half the cost of other mobile POS solutions.
Contact your MBS Systems Representative or email email@example.com to learn more about how your store can go mobile.
•Opportunity: Disclosure/Price transparency
Consumers are more educated than ever before, and often shop around to find the best prices, sometimes even shopping on-line competitors while in your store. Satisfy student demands by offering price transparency and options through affiliates.
With the enhanced MBS Systems inSite Price Compare feature, your store can easily recapture students’ sales. By seamlessly integrating pricing and availability from the leading online retailers directly on your site, you can increase the chances that students will stay right where you want them.
It’s time to take back your market share! The enhanced MBS Systems inSite Price Comparison feature makes it easy to increase your competitive edge and powers your store to satisfy consumer demands by providing students with more information.
The MBS Systems inSite Price Compare feature powers your store to:
•Provide better value to students with competitive pricing
•Display your choice of affiliates
•Gain affiliate revenues for your store
•Take back your online market share
For more information on how MBS can expand your online opportunities, contact your Systems Sales Representative or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Join us tomorrow as we detail how your store can turn possible threats into positives in our last installment of the series – don’t miss it!