Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Campus Marketplaces: Beating 'em by Joining 'em

Posted by Dean Asher on 3/23/17 5:30 PM
Topics: retail management, textbook affordability, cost savings

You hear rumblings about a new website or service advertising itself on campus as the latest, best and only student-oriented, free marketplace for selling books, apparel and other items directly to other students.Even without newer organizations marketing themselves as the student-driven marketplace, established sites like Craigslist mean there are always venues for students to sell textbooks directly to one another and cut your store out of the loop. You can compete.

Host a marketplace of your own

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 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 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 cash-strapped students.

By letting students intent on selling items on an online marketplace go to a competitor, you have no chance of making an additional sale. If they are selling their wares on your web store, something from your hosted inventory is more likely to catch their eye.

For MBS Systems users, Marketplace is available through inSite, giving stores 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 limit the sale of titles to certain programs or departments. As a bonus, it shows the price the store is offering and the buyback price for that title, so students can know the value of what they are buying and keep your store in mind at the end of the term.

Talk with your inSite rep about setting it up.

Originally posted 1/13/16

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