Orientation events introduce students to the campus and all the services that are available to them during their time in school, including the bookstore. As students begin to come back to campuses, it is important for stores to participate in these events to let students know the campus store is still the best place to get their course materials for the upcoming term.
3 ways to boost student engagement during a virtual orientation event
- Share the services the bookstore provides to students
This would be a great time to let students know about your store’s programs that help add affordability and convenience to the course material buying process. Programs like price matching, textbook reservations, counter service, dorm delivery, curbside pickup etc. can show parents and students the level of care and service available through the store. Cover the benefits of various programs that your store offers and how it can make a difference for students. Also, you could remind students that they can exclusively use their available SFA funds in the bookstore.
Another approach you could take is to explain the difference between new, used, rental, consignment rental, loose-leaf, inclusive access and access codes. This could go a long way in helping students assess the best options for their budget and learning styles.
Additionally, you could give each student in orientation a “free consultation.” Let attending students know that because they participated in your orientation session, they can set up a one-on-one consultation with bookstore staff to help them narrow down and select the best course material options to meet their overall needs, in-person or via video. This personalized service will help demonstrate how the campus store is different from any other retailer and help recapture market share.
- Share how the bookstore supports the campus
Unlike any other store, your store contributes to the overall campus community. Make sure you are letting new students know how the bookstore fits into the campus ecosystem. Does money from the bookstore go to supporting student scholarships or programs? Do you give back through student groups? Do you raise funds or host drives to support the on-campus food bank?
Any of these things are great reasons for students to shop locally and support their campus community.
- Give students a reason to visit in person or online
Keep in mind the amount of information you are sharing in a limited window of time. Do not overwhelm attendees with too much information at once. Pick the most useful, memorable or impressive highlights from your store to share during the event.
If you have the opportunity to share an informational flyer or packet, then create materials that can further explain student options and how your store fits into the community. Or, if that isn’t possible, plan a follow-up email or email series to event attendees with the same information.
You can also include a good reason for students to visit you in the store or online. By offering a consultation and/or promotion (a giveaway item or promo code) can help encourage students to visit the store after the event.
What do you have planned for your campus’s virtual orientation event?