Increasing in-store traffic and web traffic are essential to expanding the store’s market share and reintroducing students to the benefits of shopping locally. So, how can your store effectively expand its reach now and in the future?
There are a host of ways college stores can expand their reach beyond the walls of the bookstore: pop-up locations, social media shopping, bookstore events, clearance sales, expanded distribution options, promo codes, etc. Today we will take a look at three additional ways college stores can make strides toward winning back market share.
Utilize text messaging
Text messaging could be one of the single most effective ways to get student attention. Many students might let emails pile up in their inbox or consider any retail related email to be spam. However, text messaging can grab a student’s attention right away.
Start asking students now to sign up for text message alerts so you can let them know about store sales, remind them about rental returns and buyback, and get exclusive promo codes. This additional channel of communication can help your store have a more direct connection with the students on your campus and better promote store events.
Work with campus welcome and/or campus tour guides
When new or prospective students get a campus tour, where does the tour start? What do the tour guides say about the bookstore? This is likely the first impression these students will have of your store. If the tour guide tells them to buy their books in your campus store, then that helps promote the store and reinforces the services it provides students.
Make sure you work directly with the department that organizes campus tours and trains the guides. Offer the bookstore as a great location to begin tours. Maybe prepare a small welcome bag for those students or parents on the tours. Not only will it improve the first impression of the bookstore, it will also help improve the first impression of the campus.
Create a buzz on campus
Creating word of mouth on campus may not be easy to plan, but its benefits are well worth the effort. The idea itself is simple: impress students and shoppers so much they tell their friends about your store. But how do you do that?
Recently, Lafayette College Store had incredible success creating word of mouth for their buyback event. Students hadn’t participated in an on-campus buyback for a couple years and the excitement about getting money back for their books was palpable.
“This was the first time we ran buyback through Arc, and it was easy. The dollar amounts we were giving back were so much higher and word of mouth really spread fast,” Course Materials Coordinator Darrell Parry said. “I kept hearing kids coming in and saying ‘oh, so-and-so said’, ‘my roommate told me’, ‘my friend told me’, etc. They were bringing in arms full of books — something we haven’t seen in years. Usually, it is like one or two books, but kids were literally going through their closets finding more and more books to bring in.”
This is the kind of engagement really good, natural word of mouth can bring to the campus store. Consider other ways you can start creating a buzz on your campus: spectacular sale events, buyback events, guaranteed buyback, etc. Whatever you decide to do, just make the experience easy for students and exciting.