The College Store: Encouraging
Customer Loyalty

Shelves of books
Member Exclusive

As college bookstores face increased competition from chains such as Barnes & Noble, peer-to-peer sites, and popular online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, many stores are seeing fewer students come through their doors, meaning not only declines in revenue from textbook sales but also from sales of other items -- apparel, electronics, and campus memorabilia.

A feature in The Chronicle of Higher Education emphasized that bookstores at many colleges are responding to their changing industry with new services they hope will keep students coming: performance spaces for in-store concerts, multimedia stations for printing digital photos, and even dry cleaning. However, diversification of services can be an expensive investment, and many stores are neglecting their best opportunities for increasing customer loyalty around their core services.

This week, we turned to Mark Mulder, past auxiliary services director at Pacific Lutheran University and a key planner for the Garfield Book Company, and Dennis Mekelburg, associate director of Arizona State University Bookstores, to learn some practical tips for encouraging customer loyalty for the college store.


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