Your students are often under the impression that the campus store is overpriced, so they shop for their needs elsewhere. They believe that there is a higher margin on products which increases the prices and students think they have to go to off campus stores to get the best deal.
Your students’ biggest hang-up can be over the prices of textbooks. Textbooks are expensive and students’ often just don’t have the money to spend, so it’s important to support them and come up with affordable alternatives. Implementing a plan to work with students on their textbook purchases will encourage them to come to you for future recommendations and solutions. Even if you may be making less upfront, you’ll be gaining loyal customers who will spend more in the future.
Consider implementing a 30-day return policy or a buyback program for students’ textbooks. You can also work with the school library to ensure a majority of the required textbooks are available in sufficient quantities for students so they can take them home to study. Encourage faculty to consider offering open educational resources for students in their classes.
When you take care of your students and offer different solutions, you create a sense of trust. Even though you are not making much on the textbook sales, by offering these alternative services, you can provide them great value on other products in the store.
A good-better-best approach is a great way to merchandise products in your store and it provides students with options and value choices. Also fill your calendar with promotional events, so your students know when to come back to get a great deal. Once they are in the store, they are likely to spend more than they originally intended.
When you get to know your students and their needs, you can better understand their challenges in order to provide the best solutions. When your students know you will provide them the best service, you’ll gain their loyalty for all four years.