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5 Ways to Update Your College Store Sales Strategy in 2021

Posted by Liz Schulte on 2/10/21 6:30 AM
Topics: benefits of online retail, college ecommerce, campus bookstore retail

With more traffic being divided between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers, it’s important that your store is ready to meet expectations both in-store and online. Think about the in-store experience for your shoppers. Where do most shoppers go when they come in? What are your bestselling products? By contemplating how in-store traffic patterns work, you can improve your website, make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for, and improve the in-store and online experience.

5 Ways to Update Your College Store Sales Strategy in 2021We have gathered several ways that college stores can create a cohesive sales strategy in 2021.

5 updates college stores should make to maximize sales

  1. Answer customer questions before they ask
    Every customer who has a question probably doesn’t ask it, especially if they are online. Make it simple for customers to find the answers they need without having to ask for help. So how can you answer questions that customers aren’t asking? Well, start with listing out the seasonal questions your store fields from students, both over the phone and in person. If one person asked the question, then it is likely others have wondered the same thing. Next, make a plan for how students can easily locate the answers on your website. This will help both in-store and online students.

    There are a couple ways you could approach this. You could create an FAQ page on your site. A Frequently Asked Question page is a great way to help boost your site’s SEO and supply customers with answers to their questions. Another way you can answer questions is through videos. Student shoppers are probably used to learning how to do things through video. By recording some simple video content for your website, you can answer student questions, maintain that personal connection with students and keep your website fresh.

    Check out this article on how to optimize the SEO on your college store website.

  2. Maximize your sales channels
    College stores have multiple sales channels available. The brick-and-mortar location, website, social media, pop-up locations, etc. To maximize these sales channels, make sure they all seamlessly work together and feel connected as one singular experience. If you have a sale in the store, it should reflect on your website, social media and any other locations.

    Social media as a sales channel is an area where you might be able to make some easy gains and additional sales. Social media has grown beyond just informing customers about sales and linking to your website. Did you know that you can actually sell directly through Facebook and Instagram? These sites are a great way to advertise to potential customers and make a sale without them ever having to leave the site.

    Check out this blog post to learn more about how to set up social media shopping.

  3. Strengthen your mobile commerce efforts
    In 2020 with many college stores closed to all foot traffic for a period of time, many stores were able to benefit from their sales flexibility. Students didn’t necessarily need to come inside the store if the store could put together outside pop-up locations that made it easy for students, faculty or staff to drive up or socially distance. Efforts like these also helped demonstrate how the college store could be the sole hub for distribution of all student materials and equipment.

    Looking at this new year, college stores should continue to look for ways to strengthen their mobility and flexibility. Plan to offer pop-up locations around campus and beyond for any event where your presence can add to the student, parent, alumni or fan experience. Create a plan for how the pop-up locations will work and then revise that plan after each event to include anything you learned.

    Read how Elizabethtown College Store implemented pop-ups into its sales strategy last year.

  4. Make it clear how students can submit price matching
    Retail is a hyper-competitive market. By offering price matching, you can demonstrate to students that they can get competitive prices from your bookstore. As price matching becomes more common in brick and mortar stores as well as online, shoppers develop trust for stores that offer the service.

    If your store offers price matching, make sure customers know how to submit a price matching request. Make it easy for both in-store and online shoppers to take advantage of the service. Also, if you price match textbooks, make sure both students and faculty know about the service. It is always a good idea to reinforce with faculty that students can get a good price on textbooks from the campus store.

    Check out five additional ways your store can compete with retail giants.

  5. Highlight your sale or clearance section
    When customers come into your store, where do they typically go first? Do a lot of them head for the clearance racks? Online shoppers are exactly the same. By offering sale and clearance merchandise on your website, you give customers a great reason to visit your site again and again.

    When setting up a sale or clearance section on your website, make sure it is easy to find, easy to navigate and set aside some funds to advertise it. Sales sections are a great way to get new customers to check out your site. All it takes is seeing one item that they like to win a new customer.

    Learn more about how to drive online traffic with a clearance page.


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