Rush can bring a lot of students through your store, but what keeps them coming back week after week? We have compiled some ideas to help you give students a reason to visit the store regularly and keep sales rolling throughout the term.
The campus store is in a great position as part of an incredibly talented campus community. Keep a steady stream of foot traffic in the store with a continuous flow of new campus-sourced merchandise. Think of this like Etsy — only all of the creators are part of your community.
There are a variety of ways you may choose to display and sell these one-of-a-kind originals. Maybe the store can set aside a select number of spaces that campus artisans could apply to use for two-week segments throughout the term. Perhaps your store would rather host a local artist street fair where the various contributors could set up a display table around your store (inside or outside). Or, maybe you want to give them a special page on your eCommerce site so their families and friends can purchase their handmade goods.
The idea is that you are supporting the young talent on your campus, building strong relationships with students and faculty. In return, your store gets increased attention and a new variety of potential customers coming in to support their friends or just looking for unique decorations or gift options.
If starting a program like this, consider the logistics of how it will work best with your store. Do you have space for permanent displays? How will the merchandise be sold? Will it be on a consignment basis? Once you have that worked out, start spreading the word. Create an informational flyer, post on social media, and speak to the campus programs/departments that might help you get the word out to artists and crafters alike. Some items you might sell in the store:
- Crochet/knit items
- Original fashion designs
- Woodworking crafts
Make sure you are clear about how the program will work and any consignment terms with the exhibitors as well as anyone you recruit to help talk about the program with students.
A Regular Flash Sale Event
Flash sales are a great way to increase excitement in-store, online and on social media. Usually, the sale pops up and customers have to react quickly with little warning. However, this term, consider planning a regular, consistent series of flash sales so students and other customers know to look for them.
For example, a store might choose to do a flash sale every Wednesday throughout the month of October or for 12 weeks leading up to winter break. Because it is a regular expected sale, shoppers know to check back every Wednesday. However, they might not know what item or items will be on sale that day, ensuring the excitement about the event stays intact.
Check out the Think, Plan, Do marketing plan to get some more ideas about specific sales your store could run.
Get in the spirit
Another great option is to look at the calendar for this term and plan events based off of holidays or activities that are happening.
So for the fall term, you might plan an event for Halloween, game days, election day, daylight saving time ending, Veterans Day, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, December Solstice, finals, a holiday open house, etc.
Pick the events that appeal most to you and your staff and work on a solid marketing plan for them now. That way when the time comes, you are ready to launch the event without a hitch.
Think outside the box
If your store or campus community really isn’t event focused, there are still ways you can attract more foot traffic this term. Think about the things you have seen other retailers do or maybe a convenience that your store could realistically offer students.
For example, care packages are a great addition to your website or even to bundle and package to sell in the store. By repackaging and grouping merchandise you already have on hand, you are creating something new and exciting. You might decide to create a get well soon care package and offer dorm delivery. Maybe include some packaged chicken noodle soup and soup mug, tissues, a cozy blanket and anything else you sell in the store that fits the theme. Package it together nicely and advertise it.
Another great thing to do is help the campus community. Think about what your store can do to help with student food and housing insecurity and plan an event that will help you give back.
For example, Normandale Community College hosted a free pop-up clothing closet that provided students with a place where they could get free clothing items and help fill a basic need before winter. Read more about the Normandale Community College pop-up closet.
What ways will your store work to increase foot traffic this term?