College Stores Employ Technology to Stay Connected with Students

Mar 06, 2012, 11:23 ET from National Association of College Stores

Three stores take home Innovation Achievement Award and $2,000 prize

OBERLIN, Ohio, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sharing the common theme of utilizing technology, three college stores received the Innovation Achievement Award sponsored by the NACS Foundation.


Established to encourage college store professionals to share new ideas with their colleagues, the award recognizes outstanding development, implementation, and creative entrepreneurship of a new or existing collegiate retailing program or service.

This was the first time that three recipients were selected for the award.  The committee, made up of NACS members, chose three winners because they were all unique in different ways.

Taking home the Innovation Achievement Award and a $2,000 check each were Anne Arundel Community College Bookstore, Arnold, MD; Campus Bookstore at Queen's University, Kingston, ON; and UBC Bookstore, Vancouver, BC.

Anne Arundel Community College Bookstore (AACC)

Trying to combat the problem of fewer students returning to the store throughout the year, AACC Bookstore decided to develop an iPhone and Android App and utilize Quick Reference (QR) codes throughout the store. 

"The App has excited students because they are technology driven," said Christopher Wirth, AACC Bookstore assistant manager. "It is our way to stay connected without being pushy because it's the students' choice to use."

The free App includes a book search, real-time buyback quotes, store information, events calendar, bookstore auto dialer and GPS campus locator. The technology has been well received by customers as the Android App currently is rated 4.5 out of five stars.

Campus Bookstore at Queen's University

Wanting to stay relevant in the industry, The Campus Bookstore at Queen's University developed technology that enabled the resale of Google eBooks. Within the first few of days of the launch, the store sold over $500 worth of eBooks.

"It was a very exciting moment for us!" said Chris Sinkinson, bookstore internet systems manager. "[The technology] shifts the balance away from established eBook providers and gives the bookstore credibility with our students by being associated with a technology giant like Google."

The program has become so popular that the store created a separate company to handle the technology called Campus eBookstore, Inc.  Campus eBookstore is partnered with almost 190 stores, offering different levels of integration to accommodate each store's technical capability.

UBC Bookstore

The UBC Bookstore received the award for their ambassador program, which allows students to spread messages and collect feedback for the store using their own networks and words.

"Students are our core target audience. Marketing and communication of our brand today is controlled by them, not us," said Rebecca Irani, UBC Bookstore marketing and communications manager.

Through the ambassador program, the store is able to reach anywhere between 17-43% of the undergraduate population in one month. UBC Bookstore was also able to reduce marketing and promotional budget costs by 19%.

The NACS Foundation's Innovation Achievement Award is funded by the Martin D. Levine Endowment Fund. Recipients were presented the award at a ceremony March 3 during CAMEX 2012 in Salt Lake City, UT. Produced by the National Association of College Stores, CAMEX is the largest education and trade show event in the collegiate retailing industry.

About NACS Foundation
Operating for more than 25 years, the NACS Foundation is the only charitable resource for the collegiate retailing industry. Since its inception, it has disbursed more than $2 million for industry education and research, and awarded more than 2,000 professional development grants to college store personnel. The NACS Foundation has touched the careers of thousands of collegiate retailing professionals and counts some of the industry's leading vendors among its top corporate donors.

About Martin D. Levine
The Innovation Achievement Award is supported through the Martin D. Levine Endowment Fund within the NACS Foundation. Levine was founder of MarketSource Corporation and Kindle a Spark Foundation in Cranbury, NJ. In addition to serving as NACS trustee, Levine was instrumental in the creation of the NACS Foundation, serving on the Board and as President. Levine was honored by Ernst & Young in 2003 as Entrepreneur of the Year and received NACS' highest award, the Order of the Eagle.

SOURCE National Association of College Stores