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Towson University Bookstore Offers Free Textbooks for 2015-16

Posted by Jason Smallheer on 9/26/16 5:00 AM
Topics: Higher Ed, social media, college store stories, contests

Students at Towson University in Towson, Maryland, have the opportunity to win free textbooks for the 2016-17 school year.

In a move the first of its kind, The Towson University UStore is asking students to submit short videos on YouTube or Vimeo describing something they like about store. The top three entries win free textbook rentals for the entire year. No spending cap. No limits.

Towson University Bookstore Offers Free Textbooks for 2015-16

“We’re always trying to find new ways to bring in more students,” said Stacy Elofir, Director of UStore. “We need to be where the students are. Everyone has phones today.”

After going to a conference, Elofir said she and her team brainstormed on ideas that would drive business and student engagement. Ideas for videos began to float around the room quickly, some of them larger and more complicated than the current promotion, which is seeking a 30-second video posted online and the link submitted via email.

Since announcing the contest this summer, Elofir said they began receiving entries right away, and some of them were extremely creative — a huge benefit to UStore.

“In the end, we don’t need to talk about ourselves,” she said. “They are.”

UStore is constantly seeking new and innovative ways to engage with their customers, and sees the free textbook rental, and the use of online video as a platform that is not only engaging for the student, but cost-effective for the store.

“Free rentals cost us nothing,” Elofir said. “We’re going to get the books back. Everything that can be rented here is 100% rented.”

When deciding on a promotion to drive traffic, Elofir said she keeps three goals in mind:

  1. The right product mix at the right price
  2. Making sure UStore is interacting with students
  3. Campus support

UStore, like other bookstores, has a full stock of competitively priced university apparel and accessories, keeping them in alignment with other bookstore options in the area, but the free textbook offer and engagement with the student body UStore has is unique.

Keeping in touch with students through social media, and driving engagement is a focal point for UStore. UStore currently uses Twitter to keep students abreast on alumni in the NFL, university news and in-store offerings. On Facebook, students are treated to what’s new in the store, current fashion looks and their peers serving as models.

“We use students in our ads,” Elofir said, “And we will be using the winning videos too.”

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