Lafayette College Store recently had a fantastic buyback. In fact, students were so enthusiastic about buyback they came back multiple times. We recently sat down with Assistant Store Manager Peter Violante and Course Materials Coordinator Darrell Parry to discuss how their store encouraged buyback participation and how word of mouth about the event spread across campus.
Students who have started school in the last two years haven’t had much of an opportunity to experience a “typical” buyback. When Lafayette College Store planned its buyback, they notified students through the usual channels.
“We did social media posting, we hung posters up around campus and we advertised in the school newsletter that goes out twice a week,” Violante said. “We host buyback in a dedicated area of the store near the café. There are tables and chairs, and it’s separated from the merchandise, which is a huge aid.”
However, the biggest push for students to attend buyback came from other students.
“We encouraged participation through our advertising. Also, the amount of money we gave back this year was a huge benefit. There was a lot of word of mouth going on around campus that we were giving out a lot of money for textbooks. That drove the students back in to get the money for the books,” Violante said.
Coming back to buyback post-COVID
“There were several years where we didn’t actually do buyback during COVID. During that time, we switched to the MBS system and moved our textbooks to BNC Virtual. Working with the MBS system support team as well as the BNC Virtual support team has been good,” Violante said. “The support that we get from everyone is fantastic. The systems team handles issues very quickly and easily. It’s pretty great. And the BNC Virtual team has been receptive to any issues that we have had. They always get right back to you if you have a problem or a question.”
“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,” 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.”
When students order their books online at the beginning of term with BNC Virtual, they can see which books have a Guaranteed Buyback value, which helps encourage end-of-term participation as well.
“The students learn about Guaranteed Buyback when they purchase the book, and they receive a couple email reminders from BNC Virtual toward the end of term. We had some students specifically reference Guaranteed Buyback when they came into the store,” Parry said.
Buyback best practices
To boost buyback attendance, here are some best practices.
“I think advertising as much as you possibly can helps — no matter what avenue you use. We posted on our Instagram page, but I really think word of mouth was the key,” Violante said.
“I don’t know how many students actually read the school newsletter, but if they happened to click on it and see ‘Cash or Books,’ it might catch their attention.” Parry said. “It helps to keep the message clear and simple.”