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Keys to success with campus store promotions

University Business, May 2018

What is the biggest key to success with campus store promotions, and what is the biggest challenge in executing them?

“Communication with regional managers and store managers is key. The more time store managers have to review and understand the details of promotions, the better positioned they are to effectively communicate the offer or prepare for the event locally. In addition to directing daily store operations, store managers are responsible for a myriad of other accountabilities, including getting course material adoptions from faculty. The biggest challenge is just finding the time to execute complex promotions fully and flawlessly, but somehow they find a way.”

—Kolin Jordan, marketing manager, Follett Higher Education


Link to main story: Higher ed retail: More in store 


“Relevancy is a critical factor in running a successful campus store promotion. Your offerings and events should fit the unique needs of your individual campus, and understanding those needs can be a big challenge. To create programs that are truly customized, stores must build relationships across campus, talk to their students and observe the unique culture of the community — that is what will drive success, and ultimately, a deeper connection between the school and bookstore.”

—Lisa Malat, chief marketing officer, Barnes & Noble College

“Our top priority is helping students understand the campus store's role as a one-stop shop offering quality course materials at competitive prices. The events and activities our stores host help raise students’ awareness of products, sales and services. Stores also offer price comparison tools to showcase the breadth and depth of quality course materials at affordable prices. The biggest challenge is getting students' attention — especially during the busy first few weeks of the semester. Stores that invest in engaging student ambassadors and building a strong web and social media presence can more successfully raise awareness of their products and their valuable role on campus. 

— Paget Hetherington, vice president of marketing, VitalSource

“Store events see the greatest success when they establish the retailer’s identity as a student hub — a place where the academic community comes together. The biggest challenge stores face now is a lack of resources. This can result from reluctance to invest in retail technology that streamlines a collegiate retailer’s myriad duties. It can also result simply from the fact that being a collegiate retailer isn't getting any easier.  Store associates continue to stretch themselves in every way possible to compete in a difficult retail environment. Some stores also have limited hiring of full time staff, which makes it difficult to offer the customer service shoppers expect.”

— Jeff Miller, vice president of sales and marketing, MBS Textbook Exchange, LLC