Becoming a Conduit for Campus Efficiencies in 3 Steps

By Mark Palmore, Managing Director, Campus Advisory Services and Denise Walsh, Strategic Campus Advisor, Campus Advisory Services

This is the third article in our four-part series about the benefits of an independent bookstore. Read the first two articles here and continue reading below to learn about how independent bookstores create efficiencies across campus.


Independent collegiate retailers have the advantage of being conduits for efficiencies across campus. Being independent gives stores the freedom to rapidly implement innovative ideas or experiment with new approaches without needing approvals from a corporate entity. And their proximity to campus, or in some cases, on-campus location, gives them a first line of sight into an institution’s culture and operations.

Top efficiencies include:

  1. Strong partnerships with vendors and suppliers. This also includes the autonomy of decision-making. As an example, independent stores often have full control of the retail technology system used in the store, along with potential campus integrations, which allows for optimum service across campus. Retail technology supports efficiencies through automation and campus-wide visibility to key data and financial reports.
  2. Store-specific processes and procedures. Independent stores can establish formal processes and procedures for business operations and management that work best for their individual store. This creates efficiencies in that staff can be better trained and manage their workloads more effectively, which ultimately leads to more accountability and achieving goals.
  3. A nimble, well-trained staff. Leased stores have less flexibility in cross training their staff, while an independent store can fill seasonal and other needs by identifying employee strengths and training them to fill a temporary roll. This also helps alleviate the stress of succession planning, because independent stores are managing their own staff, turnover and growth. Cross training can also motivate staff by growing their skillsets and giving them the opportunity to contribute to the overall business operation. Furthermore, better-trained staff are more likely to contribute innovative ideas or see areas where efficiency and effectiveness can be improved upon.

We’ll be sharing more about how campus stores can own course materials expertise next month. Watch for our email to read the article, or connect with us beforehand to learn more about Campus Advisory Service’s offerings. Mark and Denise have a combined 65 years of experience in campus retail, auxiliary services and general merchandising and can provide strategic insight, tactical recommendations and operational expertise. 

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