In preparation for the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) 2020 conference, MBS sent out a survey to campus store members asking what they’d like to learn at this year’s conference. The result: a fascinating summary of the challenges and goals of collegiate retail professionals nationwide. Here’s a snapshot of the data.
Boosting the student experience, lowering costs and maximizing retail tech
The first question asked members of ICBA to select topics they find most interesting. More than two-thirds indicated a wish to learn about reducing student costs and driving revenue with data and analytics. Nearly two-thirds expressed interest in enhancing the student retail experience.
The top 3 topics of greatest interest to campus stores
- Reducing student costs: 69.7%
- Driving revenue with data and analytics: 66.7%
- Enhancing the student retail experience: 63.6%
These choices suggest that ICBA members are committed to staying ahead of industry changes. The last decade has brought many changes. Higher education leaders have placed emphasis on lowering student costs. The rise of eCommerce and further development of retail technology has brought consumer shopping data into the spotlight. As such, brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly expected to make strategic use of purchase information to drive revenue and enhance the customer experience.
Leaders have confidence in system technology and employee resources
The second part of the survey asked respondents how much they agreed with a list of statements about their store and its resources. Nearly three-quarters indicated confidence in their POS system’s ability to protect customer financial data. Almost 80 percent said they have a strong relationship with their school’s administration. Over three-quarters indicated they believe store survival hinges on increasing gross revenue.
Areas of strong agreement among ICBA member campus stores
- 78.8% agreed or strongly agreed, “My store has a strong relationship with our school administration”
- 75.8 % agreed or strongly agreed, “College stores must increase top-line revenue to survive”
- 72.7 % agreed or strongly agreed, “I am confident in POS’ ability to protect my customers’ financial security”
ICBA members showed less consensus about their campus store’s financial future. Over one-third indicated that they are confident their store will be financially stable in five years. Another third neither agreed nor disagreed. Nearly one-fourth indicated concern about future stability.
Campus store leaders are cautious about predicting their financial future
In response to the statement, “I am confident that my store will maintain financial stability over the next five years”:
- 3.0% strongly agreed
- 36.4% agreed
- 36.44% neither agreed nor disagreed
- 24.2% disagreed
For more details about the survey results, click here.