Your collegiate retail system is the single most important tool in the college store. It impacts nearly every aspect of your business. Therefore, when looking for a new collegiate retail system, make sure you are getting a system that can meet your store’s immediate needs now and in the future.
Right now, many college stores are looking to regain the market share lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. With your unparalleled knowledge of the campus, ability to tie into campus systems (registrar, SFA, etc.) and ability to offer all course material formats, the campus store should be the logical choice for students. Your system can help you maximize your natural advantages and bring shoppers back to the store.
5 Essential Functions of a Collegiate Retail System
- Easily navigate and reenforce retail best practices
First and foremost, your retail system needs to be user friendly. College stores are likely to have a multitude of new employees over the lifespan of your retail system. A user-friendly system (and ample training opportunities) allows you to quickly bring new employees up to date on processes as well as put in place the correct system prompts to ensure associates are taking the steps your store requires.
- Seamlessly manage complex course material processes
Course materials continue to evolve, offering students more options for various learning styles as well as budget-conscious choices (new, used, rental, digital, publisher consignment, varying duration digital licenses, inclusive and equitable access, etc.). The college store supplies and manages the array of course materials, ensuring students can find what they need and what best fits their priorities. Your collegiate retail system should help streamline and manage these diverse offerings.
Additionally, your store stands apart from competitors by being able to accept Student Financial Aid. It is essential that your system allows students to view their financial aid balances and use funds for in-store and online purchases.
- Easy eCommerce maintenance
Online shopping continues to grow, making a robust eCommerce platform a must-have for college stores. While some college stores have the ability to hire an individual dedicated to website development and maintenance, that isn’t possible for many stores. It is important to partner with a company that offers your store a full range of services, including website redesigns, without a lot of hidden fees and unbudgeted costs. Your vendor should have tools in place to help ensure PCI compliance, reporting capabilities, fully integrated course materials and GM, accidental purchase protection (prevent students from purchasing multiple copies of the same title), the ability to link students from a campus portal to their schedule-specific course materials, the ability to complete a split-tender transaction, multiple pick up and shipping options, etc.
- Robust GM inventory management
A flexible GM solution simplifies inventory management with seamless purchase operations, streamlined receiving, in-depth tracking and robust administrative reporting — adding efficiency to general merchandise sales management. Look for easy-to-use tools that drive customer traffic (like sales events and abandoned cart emails) and a robust system that optimizes inventory management and automates processes that save associates' time.
- Visibility into data
Understanding your store’s data and extracting business intelligence can have a far-reaching impact on how your store operates. From finding better ways to streamline daily tasks to making staffing or stocking decisions, information is key. A new system should have ample, flexible and robust reporting capabilities to give your store the tools it needs to take on the competition.
If you are looking for a new system, contact your MBS System Consultant to learn more or set up a time for a system demo. MBS Store Technology Solutions can help your store:
- Automate and simplify store processes with proven retail technology
- Elevate the customer experience with simple omnichannel purchasing
- Increase market share by maximizing your store’s competitive advantages
- Take control of revenue and reduce system operating costs