The best way to get students to buy textbooks in your store is to ensure that you have competitively priced titles. But, in order to achieve that goal, your store needs to receive timely adoptions from faculty members, so you can pursue the most cost effective options early. As a result, many stores are looking at new ways to communicate with their faculty about this important topic, and The University Store at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia happens to be one of them.
“We have noticed over time that only a small percentage, usually 20% of expected adoptions, are submitted "on time" and that sparked the idea of an incentive for those who submit theirs by the deadline,” explained Brook Salter, textbook manager. “On time adoptions give the textbook department more time to prepare used inventory from buyback, wholesalers and online sources, properly order custom materials, market price our inventory and prepare our rental and digital offerings.”
After deciding their objective, staff members continued to evolve the idea through discussion with both the textbook and marketing departments.
“We wanted to make sure that the outcome was beneficial and useful to our store. We put a lot of thought into determining the prize, the method of communication and the way in which we would award the prize,” Salter said.
They decided to give away an Apple iPad Mini as the grand prize for the drawing. To spread the word, the store sent two emails advertising their new initiative: one during the week prior to the deadline and then one the day before.
The giveaway was able to drum up some conversation about early adoptions and their benefits, as well as encourage faculty members to submit them ahead of schedule.
“There were several faculty members that were interested in the promotion and asked about it specifically while submitting their adoptions,” she explained. “Overall, we did see a small increase in timely adoptions; not a huge leap, but enough to view this promotion as a success. The most important benefit was raising the awareness of how important the adoption deadline is to our store. We created attention as well as excitement and that was our goal.”
On the day after the deadline, the store randomly selected a winner from the 160 eligible faculty members who had submitted their adoptions on time.
“The winner was a professor from our management department,” Salter described. “We surprised him with his prize at the end of one of his classes. The management department dean and staff were on hand to record it all for their department, too. It was a great event!”
The store also took a photo of the winner and posted the promo picture on Facebook after the event.
“We’ll use it in future communication with our faculty, as well,” she added.
In the future, the store plans to continue offering faculty-focused incentives and promotions, although they may evolve their approach even further.
“We really want to emphasize the importance of textbook adoption from term to term and will likely do different promotions to raise awareness. We learned a few lessons with this first promotion; specifically that we may need a longer timeline for advertising the promotion to see increased results, but we definitely feel that it helped,” she explained. “Our goal is to receive 50% of expected adoptions at our deadline each term. Having this desired outcome in mind, we will continue to work on how we can increase them.”