College stores share the biggest throw of the dice they’ve taken recently
By Michael von Glahn, College Store Magazine Editor
Living by the academic calendar term after term, it’s easy to slip into a comfortable, predictable routine of rush, then buyback, rush, then buyback. But maintaining the status quo won’t grow or energize your business, and could leave you vulnerable to competitors or outsourcing. To move forward, your college store needs to take at least the occasional chance, to push beyond your comfort zone.
Several college store pros shared the biggest chances their stores have taken recently – some of them surprising in their quick success, others working incrementally toward ROI, but all facing and moving forward.
Game On – Olympic College Bookstore serves the 14,500 students in a two-year school in Bremerton, WA. Anne Wallace, electronics department manager, says the tendency is for customers to pick up items to fit an immediate need, such as earbuds and USB sticks.
Even so, she took a flier by investing in a new, more expensive product that might appeal to only a narrow customer segment. “Thanks to a new stellar Razer Backpack by Mobile Edge, I decided to bring in the large backpack. And then offer an assortment of Razer tech devices: Razer mouse pads, a deluxe Razer Chroma keyboard, and a few Razer gaming mouse devices,” she explains.
Exercising caution, Wallace only brought in two or three of each item at first to test the waters. “To my vast amazement,” she says, “the Mobile Edge Razer Backpacks – that retail for over $100, much more expensive than any other pack we sell – both sold the same day I put them on the floor. And equally incredible is that the Razer mouse pads also went quickly, considering mouse pads in general are slow movers and at our store are not displayed in a high-traffic area.”
Wallace admits she doubted the school’s student population would spend big on gaming items. “I am happy to say I was wrong and even happier that this risk is paying off for our store,” she says, adding that she thinks Razer’s attractive graphic design and the company’s name recognition in the gamer world contribute to sales. Recently, she spotted and older gentleman taking a close-look at a Razer Tactical Gaming Backpack. “Turns out he was a gamer,” Wallace says. “I would never have guessed it. Goes to show you may have a market you never suspected.”
In collegiate retail as in everyday life, you’re more likely to regret the chances you never took than the ones you did. Even the moves that don’t pay off can provide valuable lessons to aid your business and improve your odds of success the next time around. So instead of sealing yourself in, start pushing that envelope.
To read the full article in College Store Magazine click here.