Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Greatest Hits of 2016: A Look Back at Foreword Online's Best Posts

Posted by Dean Asher on 12/7/16 5:00 AM
Topics: college store stories, mbs announcements, year in review

News about upcoming services to college bookstores. Fond farewells to longtime industry leaders. Stories from other collegiate retailers increasing rentals and on-time faculty adoptions in an increasingly competitive business. Monthly marketing plans to better promote your store.

We've published some great content in 2016 if we say so ourselves, and based on our viewership statistics, it seems you agree. In case you missed them the first time — or just want to read them all again — here's a list of our most viewed and shared store stories, Monthly Marketing Plans and other articles from 2016. 

Greatest Hits of 2016: A Look Back at Foreword Online's Best Posts

1. MBS: The Story So Far [Video] 

Today, MBS is known across North America as a leading wholesaler and systems developer for college stores. But did you know that before we had hundreds of thousands of titles on hand in a 350,000-square-foot warehouse, there was a time when we were just two full-time employees in an old grocery store?

That's all true — and we still have employees who remember it. In this video, you'll see CEO Bob Pugh, President Dan Schuppan and other executives and staff reminisce as they offer a retrospective of our history, growth and development as a company. While a lot has changed at MBS over the years, one thing has remained the same: our dedication to you, our customers.

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2. UNM Bookstore Ditches Traditional Margins, Adds Price Comparison and Sees Big Boost in Unit Sales

University of New Mexico Bookstore Director Carrie Mitchell jokes that sometimes, she thinks her state is a little behind the curve of textbook trends. When sales started to stagnate and decline for stores nationwide five or six years ago as students flocked toward perceived better deals online, the UNM Bookstore remained steady.

"Our students still wanted the convenience of the bookstore, but once they figured out the savings online, instead of sales declining over several years, they just went down," Mitchell said. "We knew we had to make some big changes."

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3. Greetings from the Flagler College Bookstore: How One Store's Email Can Improve Faculty Relations Quickly

To ensure students have the materials they need to be most successful in hand by the start of their classes, faculty and bookstores need to work together. Unfortunately, misconceptions and communication issues can — and frequently do — disrupt this important relationship.

Faculty who perceive bookstore prices as unfairly high may suggest to their students to shop directly through Amazon. This ultimately creates problems for everyone involved, and Flagler College Bookstore Owner Trevor Smith wanted to get ahead of it this year.

The following is an email Smith sent to faculty on campus to illustrate the store's goals in helping students succeed. He feels it's been successful: so far, transactions are up 20% over last year.

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4. February 2016: Swap and Shop at Your Campus Store

Whether you’d like to clear out some inventory or showcase new products, hosting a “Swap & Shop” event is a great way to get your customers to come in and see what you have to offer. And it couldn’t be easier: all they have to do to receive a discount on new apparel is bring in their old, gently-worn school gear. They’ll love the opportunity to refresh their wardrobe (just in time for spring), clean out their closets and — because you’re combining the event with a donation drive for a local charity — participate in a great cause!

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5. Sourcing for Success: Experience a Simple, More Efficient Process with MBS' New Sourcing Service

Today’s textbook market is more competitive than ever before. The college store now competes with thousands of online sellers, from Amazon to individual sellers. This gives the student shopper hundreds — if not thousands — of options for acquiring their course materials, as well as the means to easily compare prices. One way for stores to compete is by augmenting their traditionally-obtained inventory with sourcing through the marketplace. To learn more about how new avenues of sourcing can benefit your store, check out this Q&A from David Henderson, Executive Vice President — MBS. 

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6. inSite's Best Kept Secret: The Power of Price Comparison

College-age shoppers are so conscious that faking a birthday or purposefully abandoning online carts in the hopes of a discount email are common tactics for upwards of half of all millennial shoppers. And these are statistics for general online purchases — not educational materials, where the costs rising well above the rate of inflation have generated no shortage of bad press.

So what do you do to reach extremely cost-conscious and discount-savvy shoppers online? Easy: offer price comparison on your eCommerce site. If misconceptions about eCommerce are preventing you from using the tools at your disposal to their greatest potential, you're missing out on sales. That's where MBS Systems inSite's built-in price comparison functionality truly stands out.

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7. Towson University Bookstore Offers Free Textbooks for 2015-16

Students at Towson University in Towson, Maryland, have the opportunity to win free textbooks for the 2016-17 school year.

In a move the first of its kind, The Towson University UStore is asking students to submit short videos on YouTube or Vimeo describing something they like about store. The top three entries win free textbook rentals for the entire year. No spending cap. No limits.

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8. March 2016: Foolish Flash Promotion

Sometimes it’s frustrating for college stores to see their customers shop elsewhere, despite knowing the value you offer them as their on-campus store. You might say it’s downright foolish. Take advantage of April Fool’s Day to play a few harmless pranks on your students and show them why they shouldn’t shop anywhere else with the Foolish Flash Promotion!

This promotion will involve a lot of humorous shenanigans everyone can enjoy, but also gives big savings to a few lucky students and points out all the reasons your store is the best place to shop.

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9. What the MBS Field Force Learned to Help Your Store

In October, MBS Textbook Exchange held its annual Sales Meeting in Columbia, Missouri for our field force to learn about upcoming services and refresh themselves on strategies. Here's the recap of what happened:

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10. MBS Bids Fond Farewell to Steve Schwarz

The mezzanine at MBS' corporate headquarters was overflowing with sourdough bread and puns as friends, family and coworkers gathered to congratulate former Western Regional Manager for Wholesale Steve Schwarz on his retirement.

Schwarz, who officially retired Jan. 31 after more than 37 years with MBS, returned to Columbia, Missouri for a retirement reception in his honor. There, those who've known him shared some kind words, bestowed going-away presents and laughed at his signature punny jokes.

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