Learn how some of our most innovative partner stores are using their resources creatively to generate traffic at their buyback during our four-part series, Strategies for Success.
Trying to plan an event based on student interests can sometimes feel like a guessing game. Ashland University Bookstore decided to eliminate this guesswork, however, by adding a new ingredient to their strategy: feedback.
Supported by a 2015 Foundation Grant awarded by the National Association of College Stores last fall, the store reached out to their students with a survey, asking for direct input on their in-store promotions.
“We were hosting a lot of good events, but weren’t getting the turn out we had hoped for,” explained Terri Hudson, Ashland University bookstore director. “By partnering with our school’s Student Senate Business Committee to create an online survey, we were able to get an idea of what our students really wanted.”
Based on these suggestions, the store updated their approach to this semester’s buyback by involving campus administration. Their new event “Dr. Finks Pays You” offered an enhanced experience by integrating a meet and greet with the university president.
Working behind the counter, Dr. Finks handed out buyback funds and snacks to participating students, sparking a unique form of interaction. Responding with enthusiasm, hundreds of students attended the buyback, with a line down the hall during the president’s appearance.
“He has a very gregarious personality, and knows many students by name, which only added to the high-energy environment,” Hudson said. “But, what really sweetened the deal was that he provided the opportunity for students to win two $300 textbook scholarships!”
Adding to the excitement, Ashland University Bookstore also offered giveaways with prizes including iPads and gift cards to reward their loyal customers. Using the co-op section of the Buyback by Design catalog, they were able to offer these more expensive prizes without going over budget.
Besides the benefits to students, the buyback also strengthened relationships between the store and school administration, according to Hudson.
“Dr. Finks was able to observe the process and better understand some of the issues we face, especially during the first few days of the buy when many retail prices aren’t set,” she said. “It provided a snapshot of what we go through as a store to put money back in students’ hands.”
Overall, Hudson considers the new strategy to be a huge success, and plans to implement it again next semester.
“Having administration participate puts a different spin on buyback, and validates the event,” she said. “All together, it created a positive-energy environment and fostered a feeling of good will towards our students.”
For more information on how to implement any of these winning ideas in your store, talk with your MBS Representative. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Strategies for Success Series tomorrow!