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How to Counteract a Summer Sales Slowdown

Posted by Liz Schulte on 5/20/24 6:15 AM
Topics: Marketing to Students, marketing to college students ideas, increasing bookstore sales

Across retail, sales naturally decrease in the summer months. People spend more time outside, they are traveling, and in general, they are spending less time in stores or online. This can be especially true for collegiate retail. The majority of your on-campus customer base has left for the summer. However, there are still ways college stores can work to counteract that summer slowdown. Here are a few ideas.How to Counteract a Summer Sales Slump

4 Ways to Increase Sales This Summer

  1. Make the most of engaged shoppers
    The upsell is a great retail tool that comes in many forms. Whether it is pointing out that a large drink at the movie theater is only 50 cents more than the medium or online retailers that recommend products that are often bought together, it is a common practice that can be designed to fit in any retail environment.

    So, think about the ways your store can seamlessly implement the upsell practice both in-store and online. Maybe t-shirts are buy two, get one the last week of June. Perhaps, your store offers free shipping on orders over $100 all summer. Choose the ways this strategy will work best for your store goals. MBS system partners, keep in mind that it is easy to add suggested products to your eCommerce site. Check out these tips to help make merchandise stand out.

  2. Experiment with eCommerce sales and marketing
    Summer is a little bit slower time of year so college stores could have more flexibility in trying several different marketing strategies. What types of marketing have you been interested in pursuing for your store, but never really had the time? This is the perfect time to try.

    Use your extra time to make some videos you can use when school is back in session. Revisit past sales that have been successful for your store and see how they would work on your store’s eCommerce site. Build your social media presence and try to increase your overall engagement. Because your options are endless, pick two to three you would like to try this summer and plan to do one each month and track your results.

    Get more tips for increasing online sales this summer.

  3. Consider a summer pop-up
    You might not have the on-campus traffic you are used to, but what is stopping your store from participating in outside events? Many college stores already have experience with pop-up shops at sporting events or other large events around campus. Take that knowledge and those resources to participate in local festivals, events and gatherings.

    Consider the reasons why local community traffic might not regularly come to your store. Often, the campus feels separate from the rest of the town. Parking on or around campus can be a challenge. And, they might have forgotten that the store is there. By taking a more active role in the community and at community events, you provide a solution to the reasons why they may not shop with you even though they likely support the school.

    Read how the University Store at the University of Central Missouri improves store functionality with its collegiate retail mobile solution.

  4. Get involved in your school’s summer orientation
    Summer orientation is one of the bookstore’s first opportunities to make a great impression on students and pass along essential information. Make sure you have a plan for how you will best serve those students, speak with the tour guides about the specific bookstore information you would like them to share with incoming students and plan a sale event to coincide with orientation.

    Another idea is to set up some displays and endcaps featuring the items an incoming student might want the most: t-shirts, water bottles, notebooks, etc. Look at last year’s most popular items at the beginning of term and make sure those things are front and center for new students.

    Learn more about how to make the most of student orientation on your campus.

What special summer events does your school have planned? Let us know in the comments.


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