College stores need to establish bonds with customers. Show them you’re interested in helping students save money and succeed. Find creative ways to generate foot traffic.
The paths to bringing students through your doors are infinite. You can launch a social media extravaganza, host a midnight sale, establish a partnership with a coffee shop, install video game chairs, — or do something simple like offer free popcorn at a school event.
Here are three ideas that won’t fail
- Post a friendly chalkboard sign — This is probably the simplest, lowest-cost way to attract attention. Place a chalkboard sign outside your door on the sidewalk with a friendly welcome to students. Write a phrase on the board like “Go Mules!” (or whatever your school mascot happens to be) and offer a 5% discount for students who repeat it at the register.
- Install charging stations — Students (and faculty) are always looking for places to plug in. Installing phone and computer charging hubs in strategic spots around your store all but guarantees increased foot traffic. While students wait for devices to refuel, they can check out your spirit wear options or your gift offerings. Or they can chat with one of your associates about an upcoming event. Regardless, it will be an opportunity for them to experience your store as a place offering a convenient, much-needed service. Be sure to advertise your new charging stations on social media — and on your sidewalk chalkboard.
- Click and collect — At least one survey shows 78% of shoppers find appeal in the option to buy online and pick up in-store. Among students living in dorms — where door-step deliveries can be unreliable — that number is greater. Shoppers are likely to buy one or two more items when they arrive to collect their purchase, too. One catch: Ensure you have POS software that makes check-out frictionless. Eagerness drives people to click and collect. Done right, it’s the fastest way to buy online. Don’t offer merchandise you can’t provide without fuss.
It doesn’t matter whether students are in a buying mood. The more they linger and browse, the more opportunity you have to show you care about more than the bottom line. Although profitability remains a priority, it can’t happen without customer trust. Studies show interpersonal interactions reveal the paths to customer hearts faster than any formal survey. A little more foot traffic now will help generate a lot more foot traffic for years to come.