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Tips From the Field: Communication Between College Stores and Faculty Leads to Success

Posted by Jason Smallheer on 12/7/16 5:35 AM
Topics: faculty relations, business intelligence, communicating with faculty

A common theme shared among college store personnel is the desire to have more communication between faculty and the store staff. Benefits to the faculty include students prepared with the proper course materials on time, and to the store, having the materials readily available in several cost-saving formats and options.

Tips From the Field: Communication Between College Stores and Faculty Leads to Success

recent discussion on NACS' Hub further supports the need for stores and faculty to have a diverse flow of communication, specifically about how course material adoptions can directly affect the student’s wallet, and the need for faculty to have their adoptions submitted to the store on time.

MBS Territory Manager Ginny DeFouw said early textbook adoptions ensure more used books are purchased at buyback and are available for sale the subsequent term, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership for the student. Knowing which books will be needed in advance enables the stores to find and purchase lower cost inventory.

“Lack of communication results in late adoptions, fewer used copies purchased during the buyback period and less used textbooks to be on shelves from buyback,” said DeFouw“This creates a poor image for the store, students shopping elsewhere and a possible sales decrease.”

Some stores, like the Flagler College Bookstore, have had success with email campaigns. Owner, Trevor Smith, sent an email to the entire faculty thanking them for their continued support, illustrating the benefits to students shopping local and how a slow adoption process can have a negative impact on students. 

Other stores have been creative in reminding faculty about important dates in other ways.

“Some stores offer faculty coffee mugs with buyback dates on them or gift cards to the bookstore if the adoptions come in on time,” DeFouw said.

Along with aggressive outreach, DeFouw said some stores host events with publishers on hand to answer questions about their course materials and engage in dialogue. When promoted, the events have been well attended.

“Building relationships with faculty allows for a strong line of communication that gives the bookstore a peek into the faculty’s world,” DeFouw said. “It also allows the stores to communicate areas of concern to the faculty about what happens when an adoption is not in on time.”

DeFouw shared a story about a school with past communication challenges between faculty and the bookstore resulting in only 12% of adoptions submitted at the time of buyback.

“They said it was the way things had always been, and they could do nothing about it,” DeFouw said.

To open the lines of communication, DeFouw worked with the store to hold a luncheon for faculty to discuss challenges with adoptions. During the event, she shared her expertise on the adoption cycle, how the store and students are affected and made the event fun with giveaways. The result was an increase in on-time faculty adoptions by more than 400%.

Understanding the need for free-flowing communication and collaboration, MBS offers a complimentary suite of resources available to build relationships, inform faculty, remind them of important dates and thank them for their support.

The items in the “Focus on Faculty” packet include appointment flyers, email templates, postcards and a sample reward program. Using these items in a way that fits the unique needs of your store will help you and the faculty communicate, essential to the success of your store and students saving money.

View Faculty Resources

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