With the added convenience of online shopping and the prevalence of mobile devices among students, it's no wonder online orders have become a major source of sales for college stores everywhere. That means college stores not only need to invest in a strong eCommerce solution, but also a streamlined fulfillment strategy. One easy way to achieve these results is by freeing your staff from traditional roles with mobile technology.
The University of St. Thomas Bookstore realized the benefits of this approach by taking advantage of the MBS iTouch POS for their online textbook reservations during the January 2015 rush season.
“We purchased it awhile [before,] but I hadn’t taken the time to really explore what it could do,” said Trish Kirchgessner, customer service supervisor. “When it came time for text orders this semester, I vowed I would sit down and figure out how we could use it. It has since become this fabulous tool, and now I can’t imagine not having it.”
Using the iTouch POS, the staff has saved time and effort in fulfilling the ever-increasing amount of online textbook orders they receive each term. Student staff members begin by printing the order from a computer terminal and using it to pick reserved course materials. Because they currently use one iTouch POS, they still rely on paper for a portion of their process, but are considering adding more mobile devices in the future to further streamline the process.
It’s made all the difference! We used to be constantly behind on our online textbook reservations, but this semester we were caught up by the end of each day.
Next, employees bring the books and paperwork to a designated staff member who uses the iTouch POS to verify that the correct course materials have been selected.
“It was my students who came up with this great system; it improves order accuracy and speeds up the fulfillment process,” she said. “Before, we’d have one person at a computer who had to verify and approve orders. If they discovered that they had an incorrect text at either of these stages, then the whole process stopped; it really backlogged our work. With the iTouch, that doesn’t happen anymore. We’ve increased our speed and accuracy.”
During the verification process, the iTouch POS alerts staff if the course materials that are scanned don’t match the information on the order. That way, the issue can be corrected before it ever reaches the person who approves orders, saving significant time.
“It’s been a great way for us to double check our work,” she said. “Mistakes do happen, and by catching them early on, we can grab the correct course materials and ensure everything is ready to go by the time it gets to the approval stage.”
This may seem like a small change, but it has had a significant impact during the busy rush season, according to Kirchgessner.
“It’s made all the difference! We used to be constantly behind on our online textbook reservations, but this semester we were caught up by the end of each day,” she said. “I’ll admit it took a little bit of nudging to get me to use the iTouch POS, but once I got started it was absolutely worth it! I would definitely recommend it to other college stores who are considering a mobile option. I’m looking forward to exploring other ways to use it!”