Posts tagged Rush
The following excerpt is from an article written by Perry Kuklin, director of marketing and business development for Lavi Industries, and published on RetailCustomerExperience.com. Read the full article for further insight on the topic.
Customer satisfaction is a delicate balance for retailers and similar businesses to manage as they attempt to offer the best products, prices, and customer service — not every business is able to achieve this successful trifecta and, as a result, can lose customers along the way. In a culture where it’s so easy to purchase a desired product elsewhere, particularly online, the way retailers can stand head and shoulders above their competitors is through exceptional customer service, particularly in the checkout line.
Waiting customers may simply give up and abandon their carts. Shoppers who have yet to reach the line may just drop their goods on the shelf and leave without buying anything to avoid the line entirely. And then there are the drive-bys, customers who don’t even attempt to go in a store because the lines seem to be far too long.
The fallout from a long line
Recently gathered research about customers’ negative experiences in line suggests that the fallout from those encounters is incredibly significant. Seemingly innocuous things can rub a waiting customer the wrong way — slow or chatting cashiers irritated nearly 70 percent of customers while 49 percent were annoyed at seeing closed checkout lines when a store is busy. And, often enough, these irritations and annoyances are enough to incite reneging. Consider these findings:
- Close to 50 percent of all customers will purposely avoid a retailer or brand in the future if they had to wait longer than five minutes.
- One-third of customers forced to wait for over five minutes have abandoned the checkout line.
- Nearly half of those surveyed avoid a store because of someone else’s negative experience.
- After 2.5 minutes, customers will become frustrated if there is no progress in the line.
- If a checkout process is being actively managed, customers are more willing to tolerate the wait time.
Checkout time is incredibly influential in shaping a customer’s opinion about service. Good customer service means that a customer feels their time, energy, and presence are being respected and appreciated. They’ll stay put and complete the sale. If a customer perceives that their worth is next to nil at a particular establishment, they’ll walk right out the door, and so will their loyalty.
MBS Mobile POS solutions offer an easy way to minimize wait times during your busiest seasons, such as buyback and rush. Read about how University of Hawaii and Manoa Bookstore reduced their checkout lines during rush using the MBS iTouch Mobile POS. Then, talk with your MBS Systems Representative to learn about which of our options would best suit your needs.
We all know textbook rush and buyback get a bad rap with students. With this understanding, Bloomsburg University Store is continually looking for new and creative ways to change perception during these events. For example, after attending a CAMEX five years ago, the store decided to implement one of the ideas that had been suggested by a colleague; they installed a camera to broadcast a live feed of the line during rush.
The store purchased a small, inexpensive camera and set it up on an inside wall of the store so that it faced the area where lines typically form. Then, they coordinated with the University to stream the video feed onto the store’s website.
“We thought it would be a unique way to show students how long the wait was,” explained Beth Christian, store manager. “But, they didn’t really use it the way we intended. They just think it’s fun to look online and see if they know anyone on the camera!”
Rather than promoting the video feed, it quickly spread by word-of-mouth. The store’s website has its highest traffic during rush because of online textbook orders, and students who saw the live stream told their friends.
“The first year or two that we did it everyone was very excited,” Christian said. “In fact, the University stumbled across the video feed and thought it was so cool that they asked if they could add it to their page, too! Once it was both on our site and the University’s, the buzz really grew. Students really got a kick out of it.”
Because of the popularity, the store soon expanded the line cam to be active during buyback, too. The camera is simply placed on the wall using a Velcro strip, making it easy to move.
Now that the line cam has been at the store for several years, the buzz has admittedly faded. In fact, the store has even considered not putting it up at all in the future. But Christian’s hope is that another store can use their idea and make it ‘new’ at their campus.
“I would definitely suggest trying new and different ways to promote your store that will gain you positive feedback and the line cam was both an inexpensive and effective way for us to do that,” she said.
Does your store use a line cam? If so, tell us about student feedback in the comments section.
The following excerpt is from the article, 3 Successful Small Business Cause Marketing Campaigns, written by Stacey Politi for the American Express Open Forum.
In 2010, the fourth annual goodpurpose study conducted by Edelman, showed that “86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on those of business.” This overwhelming majority has led a large portion of businesses, big and small, to listen up and take action. When a large business rolls out a cause marketing campaign the consumer can’t escape it–there is a barrage of print, TV and web ads, but how is a small business to get the word out? Well, Facebook, of course.
According to a New York Times study, “The Psychology of Sharing,” 84% of people share via social media because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about. The case seems to be the same for small businesses as well, because Facebook has reported that the 2011 holiday season saw more small businesses leverage the power of Facebook to cause market than ever before.
Research from Constant Contact in October 2011 shows that Facebook is the most commonly used social media tactic for small businesses to connect one-on-one with customers. The ease of contact and desire to share social interests has led many small businesses to take a stab at cause marketing during the recent holiday season, an marketing tactic that will continue through 2012.
Here are three companies that made the most of the holiday season via smart cause marketing.
The Los Angeles-based company Sprinkles works hard year-round to hold its title as “the charitable cupcake bakery.” For the 2011 holiday season, founders Candace and Charles Nelson felt a toy drive would be the perfect way to engage their customers in a little holiday philanthropy. Toy bins were placed in each of their ten locations, and heavy promotion ran on Facebook through organic means and Facebook ads. For the holiday season, Sprinkles customers helped to donate 1,400 toys to local children’s organizations and hospitals, including Toys for Tots.
“Facebook is a direct line of communication to our customers. Anytime we want to get a timely message out, the first thing we do is post to our Facebook Pages,” says Social Media Manager Nicole Schwartz. “Customers in each market were excited to see that toys were being donated to local charities. Of course, they were also excited to get a free cupcake for their good deed!”
Adapt the Idea to Your College Store:
While your store may not carry cupcakes, offering a promotional item in exchange for a donation is a great way to enhance your store’s image and gain additional traffic.
Consider integrating this concept into your two main bookstore events, buyback and rush. Ask students to bring a can food donation to buyback to receive an extra prize on top of cash, such as a branded lanyard or promotional t-shirt. Or, ask students to donate a $1 of their buyback cash to receive a discounted coupon to use on textbooks the following semester during rush. The possibilities are endless!
HOCOA San Diego
Drive two hours south of the Sprinkles headquarters, and you’ll find Sam Goodwin and the HOCOA San Diego home repair network. Goodwin knew he wanted to run a cause marketing campaign for the 2011 holiday season, but wasn’t sure what cause to support. It wasn’t long after that he received an e-mail from the Interfaith Oceanside Food Pantry, which spoke of the pantry’s empty shelves and need for aid.
“The e-mail from the food pantry pulled at my heartstrings, and I had to jump on the opportunity to make promoting kindness my business,” Goodwin says.
For Goodwin’s campaign he did not offer cupcakes in exchange for toys, but promised that for every new Like his Facebook page he would donate one can of food to the local pantry. Goodwin sat by as his Facebook page gained fans and was proud to give people “an opportunity to help others this holiday season through a simple mouse click.”
Adapt the Idea to Your College Store:
This type of promotion is a great way to gain a stronger social media following during a time when your store has lots of traffic. Set up a station outside of buyback where students can easily log-on to their social networks and ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your page, then pledge to donate a specific dollar amount or designated item for each new fan!
Just be sure you have the funds necessary to follow through with your promotion; we suggest setting a limit of ‘likes’ or ‘follows,’ such as up to 200, to ensure you maintain control.
McKinnon Insurance and Park Street Pizza
And in the Midwest, Joel McKinnon of McKinnon Insurance and his friend, Rocky Shanower, owner of Park Street Pizza, both Ohio residents and trustees on the board of their local United Way of Tuscarawas County, have started a new tradition: “Chowdown to Help the Town.” For a full day in December, Shanower closed his pizza parlor to the public, and McKinnon donates his time and car, to deliver pies.
The tradition began last December with a simple Facebook event that quickly led to status updates and posts that encouraged locals to order lunch from Park Street Pizza. The post read, “If your office is having a holiday party that day, why not order from us? We give 15% of the sales directly to our local United Way!” McKinnon recalls, proudly.
McKinnon and Shanower take great pride in the Chowdown event and see it as an opportunity to give back to the very community that supports their businesses year-round. Though McKinnon hopes to promote next year’s Chowdown through other media channels as well, he admits, “The results would not be what they are without the viral effect that Facebook can generate.”
Adapt The Idea to Your College Store:
Generate traffic during slower times of the year by having a mid-semester party that gives students a reprieve from studying and the chance to help their community.
Invite local restaurants or vendors to provide their specialties to students at your in-store event, with the agreement that a portion of their proceeds go to charity. They’ll benefit from added exposure and you’ll have lots of students shopping your store! At the end of the day, donate a portion of your own proceeds to the same cause or match the visiting vendors’ contribution!
Each of the three businesses say they will be running similar cause-related campaigns again at the end of 2012 and plan for bigger and better results. When asked to offer other small business owners cause marketing advice, Sam Goodwin of HOCOA San Diego replied, “I recognize that there are many great charities out there who need help, but choose a cause close to your heart, the heart of your business and the heart of your customers and you won’t go wrong.”
Dedicated to offering affordable course materials, Kutztown University Student Bookstore gives away free textbooks each semester. But, to keep it fun for students, they find a new way to present this benefit every so often.
“We’ve always had an emergency textbook fund for students who might lose their books in a fire, flood or even burglary,” explained Amanda Schaeffer, public relations manager. “For years, we’ve taken donation books left behind during buyback and tried to get whatever money we could by selling them online. Over the years, there has been so much money left over, that we wanted to find a way to make it benefit the students.”
In the past, for example, the store initiated a ‘Begging for Books’ promotion, which allowed students to submit a brief essay on why they deserved free textbooks for a chance to be one of the lucky recipients. When entries began to decline, however, the store decided to try a new approach.
“We wanted to make it a little easier for students to participate and to offer them instant gratification for buying from us,” Schaeffer said. “So, this semester we decided to do something completely random by giving an instant reward in the store and the room where they can pick up their online orders.”
With five lucky winners daily, the store awarded randomly selected students by paying for their most expensive item during checkout!
“We predetermined all of the winning locations and times before our rush started on Monday,” she described. “When it was time for each winner, we started ringing a cowbell and took balloons to the register or web order room and started cheering for the winning customer. We let them know that they were a lucky winner, and that their most expensive item was going be free!”
The students’ reactions were just what the store had been hoping for!
“Some of them were immediately excited, and others needed to be convinced that we were serious; they were in disbelief!” she said. “It didn’t seem to matter if it was a free notebook or a $200 textbook, the students were genuinely grateful and thrilled to be saving some money.”
To publicize the event, the store reached out to students through both traditional and digital channels.
“We advertised with in-store signage and plasma TV screen ads within our Student Union,” she explained. “We let fans know on our own Facebook page, plus the University’s Facebook page shared our posts so we were able to receive some great PR and additional exposure. Each semester, we also send out a postcard to students reminding them to place their textbook orders early, so we included this promotion there, too!”
With excited students and steady traffic, the benefits of the promotion far outweighed the costs, according to Schaeffer.
“Overall, we spent $1,253.77 on 15 winners,” she said. “The average amount spent on
each student was $83.58. The goal of these back-to-school promotions is to take the surplus emergency fund money we make from donated books and give it back to our students, so we were very happy to see the excitement and the buzz that was generated around campus!”
To others who are looking for promotions to help enhance their image and exposure with students, Schaeffer has just one piece of advice:
“Keep reinforcing the fact that you’re here to offer your students more affordable options and then do promotions like this one to prove it,” she said. “The more you can spread that message, the better off your store will be!”