The Future of the Campus Store

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Earlier last month The New York Times published a piece focusing on transitions within campus stores. ‘As Amazon Arrives, the Campus Bookstore is a Books Store No More’ discusses a common theme we’ve seen on campuses, students are going elsewhere for their textbook purchases. This begs the questions where will students go for books and what will become of the bookstore.

For some students using eCommerce sites like Amazon or Chegg to find their textbooks is easier, but for others it makes their back-to-school period that more stressful. Many college students rely on financial aid and campus stores are well versed ways students can use the financial aid to purchase textbooks, school supplies, and hardware. When buying from eCommerce sites students have extra hoops to jump through without on campus support. This is a growing point of contention  for college students when they realize they are not receiving the same level of service as they did at their campus store.

In last week’s post, we discussed the store of the future, this model is more important than ever for campus stores. The college retail industry has changed drastically over the last decade and will continue to change as more students are spending online. Stores have already begun their transition from the classic bookstores to on campus destinations.  Campus stores already feature convenient items for college students, now the big push is to get the word out on campus. “The function of the store has been oversimplified to textbooks,” Mr. Walton, chief executive of the National Association of College Stores, said. “The store really functions on a variety of levels.”

It is paramount that campus stores continue to be a beacon of light on college campuses. They are a stop for visiting alumni, parents, and tour group’s faculty and students go there for convenience, and they often host campus wide events. By offering a wide variety of popular product categories stores will be able to maintain their foothold on campus. Amazon may have 1-day delivery, but you cannot beat real time impulse purchases.

 

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