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Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

UMD Stores Build Customer Loyalty

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 9/6/11 11:00 PM
Topics: college store customer service, MBS Systems, college store stories, customer loyalty, MBS POS

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.

MBS Foreword Online - UMD Stores Loyalty Program
UMD Stores created full-color cards to advertise their loyalty program in the store.

“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.”

That’s why when MBS Systems released a loyalty program, seamlessly integrated through the MBS Point-of-Service, UMD Stores was quick to take advantage of the opportunity.

“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!

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