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Campus Marketplaces: Beating 'em by Joining 'em

Posted by Dean Asher on 1/13/16 10:00 PM
Topics: MBS Systems inSite, retail management, textbook affordability

We've all been there. You hear rumblings about a new website or service advertising itself on your campus as the latest, best and only student-oriented, free marketplace for selling books, apparel and other items directly to other local students.

Online Marketplace

Even without newer organizations marketing themselves as the student-driven marketplace, other established sites such as Craigslist mean there are always venues for students to sell their textbooks directly to one another and cut your store out of the loop. So what's there to do?

Host a marketplace of your own, of course.

Allowing students to buy and sell directly from one another instead of from your store might seem counter-intuitive, but in reality it accomplishes two important things every store wants to achieve:

  1. It keeps student activity within your store.
  2. It builds goodwill with students.

If students are going to seek out opportunities to sell their course materials directly, why not have them go through their campus bookstore? It further establishes your school as a resource for students and flies in the face of the stereotypes that college stores are only out to squeeze every penny from its cash-strapped students.

And you can't make a sale if you don't get potential customers in your store. By letting students intent on selling items on an online marketplace go to a competitor, you have no chance of reaching them. If they're selling their wares on your web store, however, something from your hosted inventory is more likely to catch their eye.

For MBS Systems users, marketplace functionality is available through inSite. This gives stores even more control of the process — you can sort listings by program and class to see who is selling what, you can offer spaces for students to sell non-course-related items like apparel and gear, and you can even limit the sale of titles to certain programs or departments. And as an added bonus, it also shows the price the store is offering and the buyback price for that title, so students can know the value of what they're buying and keep your store in mind at the end of the term.

Talk with your inSite rep about setting it up.

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