In today’s digital world, convenience is key. Don’t want to go to the grocery store? No problem. You can order online, and your purchase will be brought to your car or delivered to your home. Don’t feel like running down the road to pick up a new flashlight? No problem. It will be shipped to you in two days. Convenience is the new normal for all consumers, including students.
Of the 12 primary reasons consumers gave for shopping online in a 2017 Global Online Consumer Report survey conducted by KPMG International, eight of them were convenience related.
Top five reasons people choose online retail
- 58% 24/7 shopping
- 54% the ability to price compare
- 46% online sales
- 40% to save time
- 39% the convenience of not going to the store
This enhanced convenience is what students know and expect. Rush is known for its long lines and crowds — things Gen Z students aren’t necessarily accustomed to. Experiencing rush for the first time may give them a bad impression of the bookstore or make them want to avoid it in the future. By offering students convenient alternative options, you could produce big results for your store.
3 ways to increase student convenience in your store
- In-store pickup
Giving students the option to order or preorder their textbooks online and pick them up in the store can alleviate crowds and wait times while still maintaining seasonal foot traffic. With this option, students can bypass the frustrating search for the right textbooks and spend more time picking out the perfect college apparel or browsing the available snacks in the bookstore. If your store has a shortage of space, set up a separate pick-up location where students can easily get their orders.
- Dorm delivery
As you navigate this term’s rush, consider ways to elevate the student experience at your store’s next rush. Services like dorm delivery have had a positive response from parents and students at Belmont University. When the Belmont Store was moved to a smaller location where they could no longer carry textbooks, they implemented new solution that puts student convenience first. The bookstore came to an arrangement to pay residence hall staff one dollar per box to put students orders in their rooms when that option is selected.
“We have had some students comment about how convenient the system is. They also comment that the MBS pricing model on some titles is very competitive, and they appreciate the on-campus services we do like the dorm delivery,” Managing Director Auxiliary Services Keith Chapman said. “The parents are particularly impressed with the on-campus services we offer. We get a lot of standard full orders from the parents because of the convenience. They know their student will have the materials they need in their hands the first day of class — the professors appreciate that too.”
- Book concierge service
Finding the right course materials on the bookshelves can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience for students. Having staff dedicated to helping students collect their course materials and ensure that they are purchasing the correct books would be a big step in improving student convenience during rush. If possible, make sure friendly and knowledgeable personnel are ready and available to help students find their materials and answer any questions they may have about how to increase affordability.
If you find ways to add convenience, ensure students are prepared for class and explain the various course material options available to students, it will help boost customer satisfaction and demonstrate that your bookstore is a valuable student service.