Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Joe Clarkin

About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

Recent articles by Joe Clarkin

UC Davis Stores’ Late Night Shopping Event Turns Into an On-Campus Party

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/26/17 5:30 AM

In an effort to drive more traffic into their store and away from online retailers during rush, the staff at UC Davis Stores was struggling to come up with ideas that would meet those goals. Last year, they tried giving away t-shirts to entice students to come visit the store, which worked in the sense that that event was popular, but ultimately came up short of expectations when the store underestimated its audience and ran out of shirts in about 10 minutes. Back to the drawing board.

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How to Use Twitter for Customer Service

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 7/12/16 4:00 AM

As you probably know by now, social media is an excellent tool for interacting with customers on a personal level. It allows you to speak directly to customers no matter where they are. Twitter, in particular, is great for having a quick back and forth with people who follow you, because of its 140 character limit. This makes it great not just for promoting a bookstore event, but for handling customer service. In his post for Hootsuite, Joe Wadlington explains precisely how you can utilize Twitter in this way:

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Gray's College Bookstore Puts a New Spin on "Cash or Credit?"

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 7/11/16 4:00 AM

Incentivizing students to participate in your buyback can often be a tricky thing. Maybe they think they can get a better deal elsewhere. Maybe they’re planning on giving their books to a friend. Maybe they assume their books are worth so little that it’s not even worth stopping by the buyback counter. Finding ways to appeal to them can be hard with all these forces outside of a store’s control, especially since most stores are dependent on a robust buyback in order to make sure their shelves are stocked with the right titles the following term.

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Should We Keep Treating In-store and Online Shopping as Separate Experiences?

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 7/5/16 4:30 AM

In the age of the internet, there has always been a line of demarcation across the two primary types of shopping experiences. To shop at home, on your computer or mobile device, has long been considered distinctly different from browsing through racks and shelves in-person. But it seems now like that line is beginning to blur. Here's why, as explained by Jennifer Winters at User Testing Blog:

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Snapchat Tricks Your Store Needs to Try

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/28/16 4:00 AM

There are hundreds of millions of users sharing billions of photos and videos each day on Snapchat, and the biggest demographic just so happens to be the 18-24 age bracket. For your store, that means students. If you can find a way to execute a solid Snapchat plan that those students will find engaging, you might end up with a bigger user base than ever before. In order to accomplish that goal, there are just a few things you're going to want to try out:

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Could Psychology Be the Key to Optimizing Your Social Media Strategy?

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/21/16 4:00 AM

Psychology comes into play every second of every day. How people think and behave affects not just their own experience, but the collective experience of those around them. Within the field of psychology, there a numerous concepts: theories and ideas that attempt to explain why people do what they do in certain situations. Some of those theories are applicable to social media, where things like short attention spans and fear of missing out (a.k.a. FOMO) drive customers. Check out these examples of psychological concepts that could help your store bring in traffic from social media:

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Flyer Spirit Reopens Right Next Door

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/20/16 4:00 AM

When the Flyer Spirit Store at the University of Dayton decided it was time to open up a new space, they didn’t have to look far.

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The Keys to Being a Customer-Centric Store

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/15/16 4:00 AM

"The customer is always right." That's been the mantra in retail for decades, and it remains mostly true today. In order to run a successful college bookstore -- especially in this age of competing online retailers -- you need to be more focused on your customers' unique needs than ever before. So in order to be more customer-centric than ever before there are few things you're going to want to try:

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Stats That Will Help Your Store Make a Bigger Impact on Instagram

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/14/16 4:00 AM

Instagram is in a tight battle with Facebook Messenger and Snapchat for the title of "most popular messaging app among millenials." You're surely aware of its popularity at some level; it would be difficult to spend time around college students, as you do, without taking notice. And while knowing Instagram is helpful to a small extent, it doesn't necessarily help you, the college bookstore, utilize the platform in the best way possible. Fortunately, the folks at Hubspot have compiled some of the stats you need to know if you're to get the most out of your Instagram account:

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Easy Edits That Will Help You Write More Effective Social Media Posts

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/10/16 4:00 AM

Concision is important on social media. When users log on, they typically scroll up and down their feeds looking for things that catch their eyes. If you're consistently writing multiple-paragraph diatribes, it's going to be hard to get people to take notice of what you're saying.

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