Loyal customers are the foundation of any strong retail operation. So, it’s important that stores show appreciation for their continued business. In an effort to do just that, University Book Store at University of Washington has hosted their Campus Thank You Celebration for the past 9 years.
“This is one of the most visible and exciting ways of recognizing our UW community for being such great customers,” Bryan Pearce, CEO, explained. “Everyone always looks forward to what we have in store each year, and it’s grown to be one of our most anticipated and well-attended events.”
Hosted in May, the celebration encourages UW students, faculty and staff to join together for some fun. Four of their nine retail locations participated in this year’s festivities, which concluded with an evening program at their flagship store at the UW Seattle campus.
Throughout the day, the stores offer several discounts to show gratitude to their guests. For instance, they can take advantage of 20% off all merchandise as well as receive a $50 UBS gift card with the purchase of any Apple computer.
There are lots of entertaining activities, too.
“This year, we had a Cash Cube, similar to what you’d see on a game show, where students attempt to grab as much cash as they can in the designated period of time,” Pearce described. “We also had a photo booth, photo op with our Husky mascot, a dice game and two different shopping sprees. It was a very interactive atmosphere and everyone had fun with it.”
The store partnered with several local businesses, who volunteered their services, to provide further incentives to attendees.
For instance, a local DJ was spinning inside the store, several food trucks and vendors stopped by with free samples, and other vendors offered their assistance through donations for giveaways and raffles.
“It’s always great to get the community involved and their generosity is truly invaluable to the success of our event and our store,” he said.
To get students excited about the celebration, the store advertised through a variety of channels, focusing heavily on social media.
“We posted lots of information on our Facebook and Twitter pages, which was very effective,” Pearce added. “We had over 34,000 event page views during the week of the party and were able to increase our Facebook fan base by 226 ‘likes’ in less than two weeks.”
With over 10,000 customers present throughout the day, the Campus Thank You Celebration was another resounding success for the store.
“Traffic and sales were 150% higher than an average Wednesday, which is a true testament to our customers’ dedication to the store and the great work of Book Store team members,” he described.
They also collected over 1,000 email addresses from participants during the day’s activities, which will help them further advertise future events and specials.
“It’s so important to stay connected to your customers in meaningful ways,” Pearce stressed. “We couldn’t have achieved all that we have without them. This is by far the most important event we hold each year, because it is our opportunity to thank and celebrate the supporters of our store. I look forward to seeing it continue to grow in the future!”
How does your store say thank you to loyal customers? Share your experiences in the comments section below!