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College Stores Celebrate a Unique Month with Creative Promotions

Posted by admin on 1/6/13 10:00 PM
Topics: buyback, college store stories, college store promotions, bookstore events

Between the holidays, a once-in-a-century kind of date, buyback, and even the end of the world predictions, December 2012 offered lots of opportunities for creative events in college stores! Take a look as a few discuss how they promoted these exciting occurrences and the engagement they were able to create with students as a result!

University Store Draws a Big Crowd with Deep Discounts

“Wow! Our 12/12/12 sale was truly awesome. We did something similar last year for 11/11/11 but this was even better.

We started out with the idea of offering a pair of sweatpants that we got on clearance and had a significant quantity of, but once we started reviewing our stock, we were able to add t-shirts, sweatpants, and sweatshirts in a variety of sizes and styles for both men's and women's.

My fear was that we would have this major build up and nothing to show for it. That the complaints would outweigh the fun and goodwill that we were trying to achieve; so we kept adding more merchandise, and it definitely paid off.

Our sale started on 12/12/12 at 12 p.m. and ran the rest of the day. The turnout was amazing and we had buyback set up right beside the event. Students were going to their dorms to get their books to sell and then using that money for the event; it was really cool! We advertised the event in our store window 2 weeks prior, as well as tweeted and posted on Facebook, of course, and the student feedback was great. We had customers and staffers alike begging for info on the sale and "what was in the boxes.” There was a definite buzz!

At noon, we unveiled that everything in the boxes was a flat $5 - no catch, no minimum purchase, buy as much as you like! This made the sale easy to understand and arms full of product left the store. We had a $30,000 day and half of that was this promo. We also had a great buyback day and finals hadn't even started yet. All together, over 1600 pairs of sweatpants went out of the door in less than 20 minutes; that is success!

Feedback was excellent, too. There were in-store comments as well as Twitter and Facebook posts about the Ustore having a "Black Wednesday sale" and "helping with all of their X-Mas shopping," plus the numerous texts that went out to their friends while waiting in line for their armfuls of swag. The benefits were countless: we increased sales, created buzz, showed goodwill toward our customers, had some fun, and even cleaned out product. I am already thinking about next year and what we can do!” –Stacy Elofir, Director

UMBC Bookstore Offers Exclusive Savings on 12/12/12

“On 12/12/12 from 12 noon to 12:59 p.m. we offered two styles of hooded sweatshirts for $12.99 each. One was a full zip regularly priced at $36.99 and the other was a pull-over regularly priced at $34.99. This promotion was only advertised on Facebook and Twitter, and customers had to show they like or follow us to receive the discount.

We put intentionally vague signs on the racks with the eligible sweatshirts. The signs stated "12/12/12 from 12 noon to 12:59 p.m." and included the Facebook and Twitter logos with QR codes corresponding to the promotion on each medium. That way it was clear which items were on sale while maintaining the exclusivity of the promotion. It also sparked curiosity among customers in the store that didn't know about the sale.

The date just happened to fall on our Study Day, the day between the end of classes and the first day of finals, so most students were available and welcomed the break from studying.

Student reception was extremely positive. At about 11:45 a crowd started to form around the racks with the hoodies on them. Customers wasted no time searching for the sizes they needed and queuing up waiting for the clock to strike noon.

Customers who wandered in to the store during that hour not knowing about the sale were happy to like and follow us on the spot in order to take advantage of the discount. We had laptops set up to make this easy. Most everyone expressed appreciation for the great deal and excitement about the opportunity to take part in it. Even the school’s institutional Twitter account helped us promote by counting down how many minutes were left until the sale ended.

Students continued to come to the store throughout the day and even days later asking about the sale and when we were going to do something like that again. There were some who expressed disappointment in not knowing about the promotion ahead of time, but it was a great opportunity to invite those people to engage with us on social media so that they don't miss out on future sales and events.

Nearly 200 sweatshirts were sold during that hour with the line continuing to stay steady right up until the end. Total sales for that day totaled over $20,000, more than doubling the amount of sales from Study Day last year (about $8,000). We also received well over 100 new Facebook likes and Twitter followers during the promotion.

Overall it was a big success!” –Austin Kidwell, Marketing/Online Community Manager

Auburn University Bookstore Reaches Online Shoppers with 12 Days of Savings

This December, we offered a 12 Days of Savings promotion in which one item per day was deeply discounted for that day only. Because our students are not on campus at this time of year, we targeted off-campus students by making the sale exclusive to online web-orders. We promoted each daily deal on our website, via email and through social media. On-sale items included a variety of merchandise such as Sherpa fleece blankets, Under Armour jackets, Bob Marley headphones and even a diagonal striped tie.

The deals were determined by looking at our inventory and picking items that we really wanted to move by January that also would make great gifts. Because each deal lasted only the one day, we were able to take steeper discounts on each item.

Overall, the promotion was a success and allowed us to create added value for our customers, sell through a lot of the stock we needed to move and add dollars to our bottom line. –Jennifer Edwards, Marketing Specialist

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