There’s a lot on students’ minds. Right now, the businesses that can provide them with the easy and convenient options they are looking for can win their business. We have selected three ways college stores are going above and beyond to provide students with better, more convenient service.
3 ways to add convenience in your campus store
Add a delivery option
When the pandemic first began, there was a rush to figure out how to operate in these new circumstances. College stores quickly assessed their resources and started working to provide students with more services that were not previously available. One of those is delivery.
Whether it is door-to-door delivery or dorm delivery, this extra convenience gives students an option that isn’t available from every store.
“We typically have a large international student population. We knew there was a chance that some of these students would have to be in isolation for a period of time. Dorm delivery gave us an opportunity to provide a service to students without putting anyone at risk. We worked with Housing and Residence Life (HRL) on campus to make this happen. When we approached them about helping us initiate dorm delivery, they said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s make it easier for our students who are going to be adjusting to college and to being away from home during a pandemic.’ We really thought about how we could help reduce student stress. So, we partnered with them (HRL), and they were great to work with,” Shocker Stores Director Andi Stipp at Wichita State University said.
Read more about how the Shocker Store increased web orders and added dorm delivery.
Update your college store website
There are many ways to update your college store website: change the layout, rotate the featured products on the home page and streamline navigation options. Most students won’t think twice about online shopping so long as the experience on your site is easy to use and navigate.
By paying attention to the details — keeping fresh content, adding a responsive web design and making it easy to find what shoppers are looking for — you can promote better web traffic and sales as well as create repeat shoppers.
“One thing that I throw out there is to create a sale section. Get aggressive with it — it’s one thing to put something on sale, but it’s another to have a sale section. People will come back to look at a sale section to see what’s new or if anything has been added. When we first started our sale section, it had maybe a couple items in it. Now, it is something that’s really beefed up and has a good inventory in there. It’s a known thing now. It’s like when you come into the store and go for the clearance section. Well, online you should be looking for the sale section as well. It’s easy. It’s just a new category, a new section. And I feel like that’s a good tip,” said West Chester University Web Store Specialist Ryan McCormick.
“Also, products on the front page of the website. When I was doing all of this social media stuff, you find [students] saying ‘Well, I can’t find it.’ No matter how easy you make it for someone, they say they can’t find it. You just smack it on the front page. If you’re doing a promotion on hats, I’d do a social media post and put the hats on the front page. It’s a call to action. They aren’t going to say they can’t find it. That’s what started me doing that. I really like having products on the front page. I feel like that’s a big plus,” McCormick said.
Listen to the full podcast interview that shares Ryan McCormick’s eCommerce best practices.
Increase the options available to students
With a physical location, you can offer students more options than any online retailer. Different students may be drawn toward different ways to receive their purchase. Some might prefer to have it mailed, but others could want more immediate gratification. By giving the student an option to pick up their order in store or curbside, the student has the control to choose the best delivery method for them and their immediate needs.
“We will offer a form of free shipping, curbside assistance and in-store pickup. We are going to add all of these extra services so students can choose what level of interaction they are comfortable with. They can come into the store to get their books directly, have them delivered to their home, order and pick up the books, or drive up and have us bring them out. I think the variety of services will be well received by students. It’s really all about convenience. This whole situation has evolved the services we offer. Before this happened, I wasn’t thinking about curbside service at all. I mean we would offer it if a student asked. There were times when I would have students come in and be like ‘hey, can I just pull around back and we can load up my truck.’ That sort of thing. So, we are adapting. I think if anything comes out of this, it will be a new standard of customer service. Bookstores have always been adaptive. We have gone through a lot of changes and we adapt. Also, it is a good recruitment tool. When students come to campus, they can be rest assured that we have services that will help them along the way,” said Southeast Technical College Bookstore Manager Jason Skiff.
Read more about how the Southeast Technical College Bookstore adapted to improve service.