Q&A with Vicki Marvel, Bookstore Manager at Alvin Community College
Nebraska Book Company sat down and discussed the benefits of our managed eCommerce system with user, Vicki Marvel from Alvin Community College.
NBC: Do you feel that eCommerce is important to campus retail? If so, why?
Vicki: ECommerce is extremely important to the ever-changing college store industry. More online classes mean less foot traffic in our brick and mortar store. It is imperative to have a huge presence on the web, social media, digital, tv, etc. I think our website should be a mirror image of the products we sell in the store. You can’t sell what the online customer doesn’t see. Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. help get the message out about what’s on sale, coupons available and promotions that are happening. Ecommerce isn’t the way of the future, it’s here!
NBC: What were some of your previous struggles with your website?
Vicki: Personnel, expertise, and time were the biggest challenges we faced. With a small staff we all have many job duties. I believe that you should let the professionals do what they do best and we will never have the insight, experience or creativity of a professional ecommerce team. They can focus on just that part of your business and leave the rest to us.
NBC: We created a marketing calendar for our respective teams to handle communications regarding your website. How has this helped your ability to plan ahead, manage store announcements, promotions and merchandising?
Vicki: This has helped immensely. It makes me think ahead for holidays, planning promotions and gearing up well in advance. I look at my college calendar and feed important dates to the team such as days we will be closed, important dates for Financial Aid, rental return deadlines and buy back information. This is like a one-stop-shop for me!
NBC: Would you mind giving some examples of how you created an omni-channel experience for your customers and what effect it had on your store?
Vicki: We had a promotion called Gift Card High Five – buy a $25.00 gift card and get a $5.00 card for free. We sold over $2,000 in gift cards in a few days. For a small store that was amazing! Your team advertised on Facebook, our website and I used their content in our all personnel email and on our three digital TV’s in our store, Coffee Bar and Library Café. The team even set things up so we could sell the gift cards on the website which we hadn’t done before. They also made the gift cards a tender so they could be redeemed on the site. So many wonderful ideas came from just that one promotion.
NBC: How has the turnaround time been between your requests and seeing the changes implemented on your website?
Vicki: Turnaround time has been amazing! Within hours of submitting something on the marketing calendar it appears in our social media or on the website! In addition, they create Facebook posts, banners and announcements. I don’t even have to worry about being creative with the content, they do it for me and the results have been great!
NBC: You’ve had your social channels to help promote your store for a while now, any thoughts on how that portion of the service is going?
Vicki: I have never had so many remarks from customers on how many more Facebook posts we have. It brings them into the store or drives them to our website! I simply don’t have the time to post myself and now I don’t have to worry about it.
NBC: What is the biggest impact that you have seen in store and online?
Vicki: There seems to be a new energy with our customers. Obviously sales is our primary goal and building relationships with customers helps us achieve that goal. The eCommerce team ends each Facebook post with a quote that brings a feeling or a memory into our customers’ minds. There has been so much positive feedback from just that one aspect.
NBC: Since you started using the program, what portion have you enjoyed the most and why?
Vicki: I have enjoyed the creativity that the eCommerce team provides. The timeliness of the posts, the web content and the relief of not having to struggle to get things out is a wonderful bonus!!
The eCommerce team are the most elite group I have ever worked with! Professional, creative, inspiring and most of all FUN! They make me want to come to work each day and inspire me to make my store the best it can be!