Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

College Stores Show Love to Students with Fun Valentine's Day Promotions

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 2/19/13 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, holidays, college store stories, college store promotions, bookstore events

Valentine's Day is all about honoring those we care about, so many college stores took the opportunity to thank their loyal customers with fun events, interactive promotions, and even big sales. Take a look at how a few stores celebrated the occasion and the results they received:

Blue Colt Bookstore:

“We had heart-shaped boxes of candy at the register, and each customer was offered the opportunity to pick a piece of chocolate, using tongs of course. One piece in each box had a little red sticker under it, and the lucky student who picked that piece won a MCC mug filled with candy! Although all of our customers could partake in the promotion, we only advertised it to our Facebook fans so they knew about it ahead of time.

We had other promotions and events going on in the store throughout the day, as well. We showed the movie Valentine's Day with free popcorn, had a drawing that anyone who purchased a Coca Cola product could enter to win 4 ski lift tickets to Mountain Creek and had a table sale at an off-site location with discounted Valentine's Day gifts on sale. So, it was a busy day!

Plus, all week long we had a 'Favorite Candy Contest' going on. We had 3 types of candy that the students could sample; M&M's, Junior Mints and Raisinets. Each student could vote for their favorite candy flavor and the winning flavor will be on sale next week. It was definitely a sweet time to visit our store!

Our students expect us to have fun promotions and events like this. They would be disappointed to come in and find us not offering something fun for them to take part in. They stop by often just to see what is going on. Our Valentine’s Day promotions and all the others we do definitely increase traffic in our store and foster good relations with our students.

Overall, the day was a success; everyone loved the candy and the opportunity to win a prize. Who doesn’t like free candy!?"

-Mary Tutalo, assistant director


TCTC Campus Store:

“On Valentine’s Day, we hosted a Cupid Shuffle Dance competition. We advertised the dance contest on our Facebook page by posting: 'Cupid Shuffle on Valentine's Day? We think yes! Come show us your moves to win a prize! One prize per dancer until prizes are gone! Starting now!'

The goal of our dance promotion was to pull students, faculty and staff into our store. It was an opportunity to allow them to have fun in the Campus Store. We had a large number of students visit the store for the competition; some wanted to participate and some came by just to watch.

It was a great way to draw students into our store by providing an entertaining break from classes. We have received many new items in the past month and this gave the students a chance to see all of our new arrivals, rather than just posting pictures of them to Facebook. We actually boosted sales that day!”

-Kelli Harrison, assistant manager


University of Minnesota Bookstores:

“Our store offered a free card-making station for students to create the perfect ‘love-made’ card. Our goal was to engage students and offer them something fun to do on Valentine's Day. We wanted to make sure no one forgot about Valentine's Day and to provide a creative outlet for those who wanted to offer a more personal touch.

Our student feedback was immediate and positive. They loved it! Minutes after setting up the table and posting the event to our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we had students stopping by to create their cards. We had several students creating cards all throughout the day.

The benefits to our store were many; we provided a fun, free event for students to participate in, helped students take care of their Valentine needs, increased store traffic as well as awareness of our art department and allowed our staff to interact with students in a fun, creative environment. Most importantly, however, we delivered value and service to our campus community.”

-Kari Erpenbach, marketing manager


Aztec Shops:

“We recognized late in the fall semester that we had an opening in early spring for some kind of promotion. There was a big string of consecutive weeks on the calendar where we did not have anything special planned. Centering a promotion on-and-around Valentine’s Day and Fat Tuesday, since they fell on the same week this year, seemed logical. We hoped to generate sales approximating our annual Monster Sale that falls during Halloween.

Our Stupid Cupid sale was a pretty straightforward promotion with SDSU gear starting at 20% off and we seemed to get the desired response in terms of sales. The Facebook ad we posted received 120 likes and multiple shares, so we knew the word was getting out.

The sale lasted for three days, Tuesday, Feb. 12 – Thursday, Feb. 14. Comparing sales to the same days in the same week last year when we did not have a sale, our Stupid Cupid sale generated nearly three times the revenue in the imprinted apparel and gifts departments. These first-year numbers for Stupid Cupid were in the ballpark for what we did during our most recent Monster Sale.

It is a nice benefit when the register ka-chings a bit more than usual, but for a different reason than you may think. We are a not-for-profit campus auxiliary and the money we make goes back to the university to benefit student programs. We are pleased anytime we create and deliver on a new opportunity to better serve our students."

-Ben Eisenstein, Manager, Marketing and Regalia


The University Book Store


"I suppose it's an unwritten rule that you're not supposed to post your boss's direct phone number on Facebook, however, I'm all for pushing the limit when it comes to marketing. The '2nd Annual Sing To Our Boss Day' held on Valentine's Day is a recent example. Our Facebook fans were asked to call our boss and leave a message singing 'We are never, ever getting back together' by Taylor Swift. The person we determined to have the best rendition received a $25 gift card. [Listen to the winner's call here]

The overall goal was to engage our Facebook followers with an unusual post. I often try to make myself think like a consumer: what Facebook pages do I want to follow? Certainly ones that can have some fun. Even though we typically don't get many brave souls to actually call in and sing, this contest certainly gets some buzz. My continuous goal is to give our store a personality, which will ultimately help detract from the 'big bad bookstore' stigma."

-Erin Lambert, Marketing Supervisor

About Stephanie Kubas

Stephanie was our former MBS Marketing Communications Manager. She helped Foreword Online evolve from simple reposts from other industry-related sites, to original content sourced directly from our college stores. Although she no longer writes for Foreword Online, it still holds a special place in her heart.

Article comments