Customers are inundated with options when shopping for educational materials. For the campus bookstore, this means your website needs to be a helpful resource that offers customers easy access to course materials and school-branded merchandise while also giving them payment options that include Student Financial Aid (SFA). Here are some ways you can make your website a relevant and trusted option for your customers.
Keep your college store eCommerce fresh
Providing a resource with fresh and relevant content is important to bring students back to your website. We spoke with inSite Representative, Rebecca Doerflinger, about what makes college store eCommerce sites stand out from their competitors.
“Campus bookstores typically do better when they share fresh and pertinent content on their website. This could look like the latest news section or banner on the site where you showcase events around campus and upcoming sales,” Ms. Doerflinger said.
Be creative with this section. Add things like due dates, upcoming sales, or student highlights and stories.
“One of the schools I work with highlights a student each month and shares their story on the website like a blogpost. They interview the student about where they came from, what major they’re studying and what they aspire to do after they graduate,” Ms. Doerflinger said.
Another way to keep your website fresh is by sharing student reminders. Let students know when their rentals are due back or when the term is ready to open for new books. This establishes you as a helpful resource for students to use.
“Another one of our stores does a great job of keeping their news banner up to date and fresh, providing information on winter deals, due dates and other slides that involve instructors and students. This information keeps customers engaged and coming back,” Ms. Doerflinger said.
Enhance your college store eCommerce site
Enhancements to the back end of your website can create a better user experience that keeps customers coming back. One enhancement that improves the transaction experience is the Administer Order Processing Options enhancement. This option allows the customer to provide a new credit card payment method when there is a payment error. It sends out an email to the customer and notifies them of the need for new card info. This email contains a link so they can update this information on their own and not have to contact the store. This option also lets customers edit quantities, drop items or cancel the order as long as it hasn’t been picked yet. This option only works with credit card tenders, not Campus Cards, Gift Cards or SFA tenders.
Another option is to implement Cart Abandonment tracking. If a customer puts items in his cart, and for some reason does not finish the order, the system tracks this and sends out reminder emails. Shoppers are also prompted at their next login to reclaim their carts.
Loyalty programs are another powerful tool that operate on the back end of websites. Through inSite, campus stores can design the loyalty program that works best with their eCommerce site. Loyalty programs award points to customers based on their previous purchases. After they’ve accumulated enough points, they can use those points to apply discounts to new purchases among other benefits dictated by the store. This gives customers a greater incentive to keep returning to your campus bookstore.
Adding a price comparison tool to your website will support students in their purchasing choices and allow you to match competitor pricing. This gives students confidence that they are getting the best price through the campus store.
Participating in social media is an efficient way to digitally market your campus bookstore (link to comprehensive guides). Linking your social media sites through your website will make it easier for your students to connect and stay engaged with your content. This can be achieved by adding the option to share merchandise on social media. When a student inspects an item and likes it, they can click the designated link to that social media site, and it will share that item in a post.
Your website is the face of your business in the digital space. It’s important to keep your college store eCommerce site fresh, relative and useful. To learn more about how you can optimize your website, check out 3 Changes That Will Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Website.