Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



How Managing Your Brand In-store and Online Can Strengthen Sales for Both

Posted by Dean Asher on 7/19/16 5:00 AM

It can be easy to think of your brick-and-mortar store and your eCommerce platform as two separate entities. While they're obviously both part of your store and feature the same inventory, they exist in different spaces, have their own advantages and attract customers who shop in different ways. However, experts find that you can't truly achieve your true potential for success in your physical or web store without using one to properly leverage the other. According to Retail Customer Experience, the best way to do this is by making sure your brand personality is consistent across all channels.

Read More

The Keys to Being a Customer-Centric Store

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/15/16 4:00 AM

"The customer is always right." That's been the mantra in retail for decades, and it remains mostly true today. In order to run a successful college bookstore -- especially in this age of competing online retailers -- you need to be more focused on your customers' unique needs than ever before. So in order to be more customer-centric than ever before there are few things you're going to want to try:

Read More

3 Ways to Be a Customer Service Hero

Posted by Dean Asher on 5/26/16 12:00 AM

We like to think that everything goes according to plan for your customers, but every now and then, something goes wrong. Maybe they need to return something, or they're looking for the perfect Father's Day gift but can't find it, or they waited to the last minute to look for their books. Whatever it is, they need a hero.

Read More

3 Tips to Avoid Turning Off Customers

Posted by Dean Asher on 5/20/16 12:00 AM

It's been said that it takes months to gain a loyal customer and only seconds to lose one. If that's true, it is imperative that you do everything you can to keep your store inviting and your customers happy. Unfortunately, a recent Harris poll tells us there are some common things retailers do that turn off their customers.

Rieva Lesonsky shared her list of what sends customers packing in 7 Retail Turnoffs That Send Customers Away Screaming on Small Business Trends.

Read More

The Importance of Listening on Social Media

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 5/2/16 11:00 PM

There are two sides of the coin for social media interaction. The first - the one we all think about more - is the content we put out there in front of our followers. This is how you build your following, by enticing people to come back regularly for more engaging posts. But the other side is hearing what those followers have to say in response to both the content you put out there, and what your business does in general. We don't think about this one as much, but it's extremely important. How can you get better if you're not listening to your customers?

In this article entitled "A Guide to Social Media Listening for Your Business," Hootsuite author Dara Fontein describes what constitutes social media listening, and why it's so important to a business like yours who likely uses social media frequently. You can read a portion of Dara's article below, but we encourage you to check out the full article, and other great stories, on the Hootsuite blog.

Read More

Simple Ways to Increase Customer Retention Rates

Posted by Kate Seat on 3/25/16 1:30 AM

Great customer service leads to happy customers and happy customers are more likely to come back for repeat visits. While there are no guarantees that even satisfied customers will always return —even if you and your staff provide a stellar experience — there are a few tactics you can try to make that outcome more likely. After you read the following excerpt, be sure to check out the original article by Jayson Demers on Entrepreneur.com.

Read More

How to Handle Social Media Complaints

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 3/14/16 11:00 PM

As unfortunate as it may be, customer complaints come with the territory of being a retailer. Try as you might, some people aren't going to be satisfied with your services no matter what you do. And in this era of social media, those customers have a bigger platform than ever on which to let people know loud and clear exactly what they feel you've done wrong. That's why it's so important to know precisely how to hand complaints in this day and age, especially on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. In this post from Jay Baer at Buffer, he's put together "The 6 Step Playbook for Handling Social Media Complaints," which will help guide you through the process of communicating with unhappy customers on social media. Check out an excerpt from his playbook below, or read through all six steps here.

Read More

Happy Customers, Happy You [Slideshare]

Posted by Kate Seat on 3/9/16 1:00 AM
It's an age-old question. Can you have your cake and eat it, too?
Read More

Why Empowering Employees Improves Customer Service

Posted by Kate Seat on 3/3/16 11:30 PM

As an active member of the retail industry, you've probably heard the phrase "the customer is always right" more times than you can count. Would it surprise you to learn that that famous quote, often attributed to Marshall Field, was originally "assume that the customer is right until it is plain beyond all question he is not?" In reality, it isn't practical to defer to customers 100 percent of the time, so making sure that your employees have the confidence to trust their own judgement can go a long way toward improving the service they provide. Here are three practical ways to empower your staff, drawn from a post written by Laura Macleod for Independent Retailer.

Read More

7 Customer Service Fails That Could Get You Dumped

Posted by Kate Seat on 2/12/16 2:48 AM

If you want to make sure your relationship with your customers extends past this Valentine's Day, there are a few behaviors you should definitely avoid. We've selected the seven we felt were most relevant for college stores from a post by Elizabeth Kraus (but make sure you check out her additional points as well).

Read More