Earlier this fall, Kate Weinand with the University of Mary Bookstore came to Columbia, Missouri, to attend the MBS Systems Training Fall Forums event. Over the course of a few days, attendees are able to network with individuals from other stores and learn more about the capabilities of their MBS system. We sat down with Ms. Weinand to hear more about the University of Mary Bookstore and its new location.
We just moved to a new location on our campus. It is in a newly constructed university student center. It is called the Lumen Vitae University Center which means “light of life” in Latin. The center is a social hub for students and members of the Mary community. Our store carries logo apparel and merchandise, as well as a convenience store portion with food and anything else students might need. We also carry office supplies and, of course, textbooks.
Does carrying food items help bring students into the store?
How else do you engage with students on campus?
We do social media promotions. Right now, the fact that we are a new location is a really big incentive just to come in and check out what we have to offer. We do what we can with marketing, utilizing the resources we have available to us.
What social media does your store use?
I like Snapchat personally. I think, though, we do the best stuff on Twitter and then maybe Facebook second. Snapchat is third for our store’s use, but there are times for say, “flash sales” that it is the perfect marketing tool.
The University’s full-time social media marketer is a former student, but the store doesn’t have a position like that at this time — although it would certainly be beneficial.
What do you do at the store?
I am the store merchandiser which means I fill a lot of roles. I meet with vendors to select apparel and logos, maintain all of our non-textbook inventory, train and supervise our six work-contract students and work with them to send merchandise from Arc to inSite to post on our Bookstore website. I interact with customers regularly and help with ringing items up on the till. There’s also the behind-the-scenes duties of making sure all UPCs are entered into the system so that items will actually scan on the till.
In our store, the apparel traditionally sells well, as well as gift items and drinkware. We have branched out with a variety of stuffed animals, which have been popular as well. Since we are a Catholic, Benedictine college, we carry religious art and books, which also sold well last year.
How does you MBS System help with what you do?
It provides the platform for getting our merchandise on to the website and keeping track of our inventory. In the future, I would like to focus more time on utilizing the reporting tools.