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Ignite Student Success With a Finals Fuel Sale Event

Posted by Lori Reese on 5/15/19 8:00 AM
Topics: bookstore events, marketing, finals

Collegiate retailers know that performing well on a chemistry final depends on many factors, including whether you’ve eaten well. As students prepare for finals this season, remind them your store is an excellent place to find healthy food that fuels academic achievement. Host a Finals Fuel Sale Event, highlighting the snacks and convenience foods your store offers that nurture the whole student — body, heart and mind.


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The vicious cycle of food and stress

It doesn’t matter how many hours you’ve committed to staring at the periodic table, if you haven’t eaten or slept properly, you’re far less likely to remember what you need to know for a test. What’s more, behavioral research shows that when we are stressed and hungry or sleep-deprived (and therefore even more stressed and hungry), we don’t make the best food choices.

When you add the budget restrictions that most students have to a mix of stress and hunger, the results can be poison. It’s normal to grab what’s cheap and what fills us up fast. That can mean choosing the 32-ounce sugar-loaded energy drink instead of an apple. It can mean going for the candy bar instead of the roasted almonds. And it can mean that instead of investing in a lunch that will keep us alert all afternoon, we down something fast that leaves us feeling spacey, dull and hungry yet again at 3 p.m.

Fortunately, Generation Z, the cohort of students born after 1995, has a head start. These kids, raised on news of soaring diabetes and obesity rates, already prefer healthier snacks. Your sale will celebrate what they know already about wise food choices, while highlighting such foods in ways that make them even more appetizing.

This will help students avoid the temptation to forget what they know about healthy eating habits during finals.

Nudge students toward healthy snacks

Of course, you don’t need to discourage students from purchasing the “wrong” food. How would we know what’s truly right or wrong for them in this moment? Rather, you can promote health choices in the way Nobel-prize winning behavioral economist Robert Thaler might suggest: Give students a “nudge.” Make it easy for them to choose healthy food.

Download: Marketing Kit
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Download Kit

Thaler argues that, contrary to popular assumption, people don’t often act from rational self-interest. Simply knowing that carrots are a rational choice doesn’t stop a craving for chocolate. What’s more, ordering people to eat healthy or act in ways that benefit them isn’t very effective. Any parent who’s tried to teach a child to like spinach knows that.

However, we can offer “nudges” that make it easier to make decisions that lead to greater health and happiness.

Instructions for your sale event

You probably have a lot of experience with offering nudges as a collegiate retailer. Every time you put something on sale or create a display, you’re creating a nudge. In Thaler’s terms, you’re making it just a little more convenient for students to purchase the merchandise you’re featuring. The only difference with this sale is that it’s specifically dedicated to highlighting your store’s healthy foods for finals. 

Download the attached marketing kit for your sale. It includes two posters and a social media image designed to generate student interest.

Then, take these steps:

1. Select your sale offerings: Collegiate retailers carry a wide variety of healthy convenient snacks. You can highlight those listed on the attached poster, select your own or consider some on this list.

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Milk
  • Soy milk
  • Protein-rich snacks
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower

If you  want to learn more about the nutritional science behind foods you choose to recommend, check out this excellent report from the National Institute of Health.

2. Decide what you can offer at a discount: Consider which of the chosen healthy foods you can afford to sell at a price comparable to the cost of a candy bar or even lower.

3. Set the dates: Decide which dates will work best for your school. If you school has a “reading day” or a day off from classes before tests begin, that’s a great time to start the sale.

4. Create a display: Sometimes healthy food is less expensive than a sugary treat, but it’s harder to find. Do you have cans of tuna lurking on a bottom shelf somewhere? Make it easier for students to see when they walk in the door to your store. When you design your display, throw in a few surprises, too. It’s common for people to think coffee is unhealthy. But science tells us it can boost cognitive functioning. That is, it’s good for the brain! Seeing coffee placed alongside apples and bananas is sure to catch students’ attention.

5. Advertise social media: Start advertising your sale event on social media before finals and keep posting throughout finals week.

6. Display your posters: Use the attached posters to generate interest in advance of your event. Post them in your store and in key spots on campus like the library, the student union and other student study hubs.

Suggested social media posts

Use the attached social media image to advertise your sale event on social media or use photographs of the foods you’re featuring.

Twitter

 

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About Lori Reese

Lori Reese is a writer and an educator with 20 years of experience in higher education teaching.

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