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Drive-through Rush Boosts Sales at Hagerstown Community College Bookstore

Posted by Liz Schulte on 6/29/20 6:45 AM
Topics: bookstore events, college bookstore marketing, campus bookstore retail

As summer rush approached, Hagerstown Community College Bookstore Manager Tammy Crockett knew there was a way the store could continue to serve students, keep them safe and give them convenient, one-stop shopping. By holding a drive-up rush event, the store could provide students with everything they might need to start a new term and save them shipping costs.

Drive-through Rush Boosts Sales at Hagerstown Community College Bookstore“Our drive-through rush event started on May 18. I got the idea thinking about how fast food restaurants managed to stay open through all of this. I thought if McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King can have a drive through, then so can the store. I actually said, ‘If they can have it their way, then so can my kids,’” Crockett said. “We came up with the drive-through order pick up. Luckily, the campus is set up in a way that makes it possible to move our store outside. We moved a register outside, took some clothing, merchandise, supplies and things of that nature out there, too.”

The store event was a combination of online and on-site sales. Students would place textbook orders online where they could use the payment method of their choice, including student financial aid. As an order came in, store personnel picked the order and had it waiting at the outside drive-up event. When a student pulled up to pick up their order, they could also see the outside merchandise and choose to add other supplies they might need.

“When the student pulled up, they just needed to show their student ID. I had two employees outside — Assistant Store Manager Jaquelyn Kauffeld and Brooke Keplinger. One would get the ID and confirm the name. The other would grab the bag with their order and any other products they asked for. We would then take their credit card, because we only did credit card or financial aid,” Crockett said. “The rest of us were inside filling orders as they came in. Because our inSite website goes 24/7, we had a constant stream of orders. You would think you had them all filled and then ten minutes later there are seven more orders to fill. Once the orders were filled, I would take them out and put them with the other orders in alphabetical order, so it was easier to find when people got there to pick them up.”

Hagerstown Community College Bookstore staff

The drive-through rush event ran daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ms. Crockett understands that those times might not work for every student, especially those who work during the day. So, the store also works with each student to ensure they have an opportunity to purchase their materials.  

“This is still rush. Even with the pandemic, everyone’s attitude is just different and more at peace in knowing that the bookstore is trying to do whatever it can to make sure everything goes well for the students. It’s been great,” Crockett said. “We're even doing laptops online. If students are interested in buying a laptop, they can email me, and I will send out the specs to them. We have advertised that if students need to meet with us, we will set up a time to meet with them. They can email me or the bookstore site, and we will set appointments for those who need that. We ran the event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and some students work. They aren’t off until 5 p.m. So, we will stay to accommodate them.

“We just decided to make it as easy as possible for students, especially with what's going on. I wanted them to feel like the bookstore is here for them and we will certainly continue to be,” Crockett said. “Students were so appreciative. We had students come in, and they just kept thanking us. They thought it was really a great idea. They said ‘Why not do this all the time during the summer. It is great to be outside and have this here.’ They really did appreciate the entire event.”

To set up an event like this requires the input and approval of many different stakeholders on campus.

“To begin with, I met with our Director of Finance — that’s who I report to. I told him what I wanted to do, and he said, ‘Tammy, that’s a great idea. Run it by security to make sure they are in the loop.’ I spoke with our campus Chief of Police and Human Resources. I wanted to make sure we could set the event up so it would be safe for everyone,” Crockett said. “Once they okayed it, we were ready to go. I contacted our IT Director and let him know what I wanted to do. He came and looked at our computers and set everything up for me. We took one of the registers out to the front, but still on the inside of the building for security. Everyone here on campus was more than willing to do whatever we needed to do to make this happen. The support mechanism was just great, but I didn't expect anything less.”


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