Rush is right around the corner. Are you prepared? We compiled some of the best practices to prepare for one of your busiest times of the year.
Having enough help is paramount for a smooth rush. Make sure employees are aware that it will be an all-hands-on-deck event and that everyone knows as much as possible about the area they are working in. For some students, this will be their first time in your store. Start the relationship off on the right foot. One of the biggest customer service complaints is about uninformed staff. The longer customers have to wait for an answer to a question, the more agitated they become and the less likely they are to come back. Keep all of your customers happy and moving through the store with plenty of knowledgeable employees positioned throughout the store.
Convenience is a must in today’s retail world. Offering students a faster option that brings them into the store and cuts out down their wait times can make a lot of customers happy. The CU Book Store at the University of Colorado Boulder, the ICBA MVP, has streamlined their preorder and pick up process to improve the student shopping experience. As a result online orders have increased every semester for the store.
“They [students] go to a terminal, type in their log-in credentials and receive self-pick-up instructions for their box of books shelved in a convenient numerical fashion on special shelving. As they leave the area the instructions and box are scanned to validate the pick-up and they’re done, leaving with a great store experience that makes them want to come back later during the first week of classes to buy supplies and other items,” Chris Gotski, director of CU Book Store said. “We have also improved our checkout process in the store with more registers and better line control, making the waiting time for students who don’t order their books ahead of time only about five to seven minutes.”
- Mobile checkouts
Waiting in line is one thing almost every shopper loathes. It is part of what gives purchases online so much appeal. It’s also a reason so many stores are moving toward mobile POS Being able to directly checkout a customer without making them wait in line is a major customer service win. In a recent Spotlight, MBS Systems Sales Consultant, Patrick Cervenik highlighted the changes already taking place at the retail checkouts.
“We are seeing more self-checkouts. Or, store associates walk around with handhelds checking customers out. Even more than that, some stores are offering customers the ability to grab an item off the shelf, checkout from their phone and then just leave the store. Click and connect comes into play with customers buying items online and then picking their purchases up in the store. All of these new checkout options give customers the ability to get in and out of the store as fast as possible.”
- Plan ahead
Rush is a busy time so it is easy to get tunnel vision while focusing on preparing for just this event, but don’t miss the opportunity to entice students back to the store after rush. Advertise upcoming store events or the next promotion (Need ideas? Check out the Think, Plan, Do Monthly Marketing Plan featuring a full year of social media events). If you don’t have anything lined up, consider including a coupon with each purchase that students can use on their next purchase.
Review your sales data. What items have traditionally been the best sellers? Display those items and other smaller, useful items that might turn into impulse buys prominently. Don’t forget to include local favorites. Lane Community College’s Titan Store embraces their community by selling a specific water bottle that Oregonians want.
“Everybody in Oregon walks around with a water bottle of some kind. We brought [Hydro Flask] in and it’s a higher end product, but because it’s actually a popular product in Oregon, people buy it,” Titan Store Director of Retail Services Tony Sanjume said. “It’s one of those things. You can’t sell cheap sweatshirts sometimes, but you can sell Nike® or Under Armour®, because people identify with the brand.”
Stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes and welcome back another successful rush.