In a crowded market, what are the top competitive advantages college stores have? Online and locally new competitors are popping up for college stores. Everyone is vying for students’ attention and likely offering similar deals. However, independent college stores have some innate competitive advantages that can help you keep and expand your market share. Let’s take a look at some of the ways the MBS system helps you leverage your store’s advantages.
The MBS system is built for college stores to ensure they can always efficiently manage their unique retail position. In addition to helping strengthen your store’s competitive advantages, the MBS system offers:
- 24/7 system support
- No hidden fees or additional service charges
- Expert eCommerce assistance on anything from small updates to redesigns at no additional cost
One-stop full service
The college store industry stands apart from traditional retail. Store missions are driven by the campus and the needs of the students, offering services for textbooks, merchandise, buyback, rentals, etc. Here are some of the options your store offers that other businesses don’t.
- SFA – College stores are the only place where students can use their SFA funds. This means any students who intend to purchase textbooks with SFA are automatically going to become a customer. From here, you can further engage the student by asking them to sign up for your email list or to receive text messages, follow you on social media, and show them other great deals they can get in the store.
- Buyback – At the end of term, a lot of students don’t want to keep all of their books. Your store offers them an easy place to get a little money back on their textbooks. Send buyback alert email/text messages to make sure students know their end-of-term options and to provide the full range of customer service that college stores are known for.
- Personalized service – College stores have a more limited market than most other retailers. This means you have the opportunity to provide customers with more personalized service that exceeds their expectations. With tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), custom loyalty programs, etc. college stores have all the necessary tools and information at their fingertips to amplify service.
- Direct access to your customer base – The next advantage your store has is you know exactly who your customers are. While off campus retailers might target a wider demographic, you have the advantage of knowing exactly which students are attending your school and the added benefit of being able to contact them before they ever step foot in the store.
- Pinpointed marketing – System tools like MBS’ CRM gives college stores easy access to the information they need to create personalized marketing campaigns. Get a list of the alumni who have shopped in your store, create a sale for incoming freshmen, let shoppers know about sales on items that they have bought in the past, etc. The options available are limitless. Once you extract the list you need from CRM, it can be used to send messaging through your favorite platforms.
- Simplified business intelligence – Business intelligence and reporting are fantastic tools for understanding your customer interactions and preferences. The MBS system offers customers a variety of reporting options, including our newest reporting tool that helps stores easily create and customize reports to their exact specifications.
Easiest ordering and distribution
Because students are already on campus, your store is easy to access. Providing a variety of distribution options (in-store pick up, dorm delivery, shipping, etc.) in addition to an easy-to-navigate website, makes your store more convenient than anywhere else.
- Make getting the right materials easy – Because campus stores are part of the school, your store can use features that connect students directly to their schedule-specific course materials. MBS Registrar Link, for example, links students directly to their schedule-specific course materials on your website, making sure students order the correct materials that they need for class.
- Distribution options - From curbside pickup to home and dorm delivery, college stores have gone outside the norm to better serve students. Evaluate what distribution methods will best serve your store and your campus community. Then look at the technology that can help you streamline the process. MBS Store Technology Solutions partners have expertly managed increased web orders with MBS’ mobile order fulfillment tool. Stores easily create picking batches, scan and automatically validate each item picked, and streamline and finalize package pickup or order shipments.
These are just some of the ways your store can set itself apart. If your current system doesn’t provide you with the options you need to compete, contact your MBS Store Technology Solutions Sales Consultant to learn more about the MBS system.