Once the last student in line has purchased their books and supplies for the new semester, investing the time for a little bit of assessment and proactive planning now can save you a lot of effort down the road.
Evaluate your data
If you aren't using your system's sales reports for more than just accounting, you're missing out on an invaluable resource. Your business intelligence (BI) tools allow you to compare your recent results to your historic data, and can help you manage staffing, make decisions about what inventory to bring in and in what quantity, track peak shopping times and more. Get started today by putting your data to work for you.
Review how your team functioned
Looking at your sales data will help you make informed staffing decisions for the future, but you'll also want to consider how your staff functioned as individuals and as a unit. Busy or stressful times often reveal an employee's capabilities or weaknesses, and could be used as a marker for future promotions or where additional instruction may be needed.
Some questions to consider:
- Did they encounter any issues they couldn't resolve?
- Are there areas that could be improved with further training?
- Which employees worked well together?
- Did any employee go above and beyond to provide great customer service?
- Were there any weak links, either in scheduling or staff performance?
Assess new promotions or events
If you tried a new theme or some type of giveaway, how was it received? Did you notice higher levels of engagement or increased sales? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
Coupons, discounts on future purchases and an in-store loyalty program are all strong incentives and help encourage repeat business.
Record student feedback
Don't guess how students feel about your store — ask them! Email a quick survey, ask for feedback on Facebook or find out with a Twitter poll.
Whatever method you use, make sure to document what you find out to make the process run more smoothly next semester.
If you happen to get negative feedback, be sure to respond quickly and appropriately. One of the big benefits of social media is that you can communicate almost instantaneously with your customers, but it also means that a complaint left unanswered can have a tremendous social impact.
Brainstorm ways to improve your results
While the experience is fresh in all of your minds, sit down with your staff and talk about it. Discuss what worked and what didn't, and ideas you may want to try for next time.
For more inspiration, see what promotions other stores have tried in our College Store Stories.