New Webinar: How Your Bookstore Can Win Back Students and Recapture Sales

 

Intended Audience: This live Webinar is relevant for all higher education administrators looking to increase student satisfaction and explore options for lowering the costs of textbooks and class materials. Space is limited, register today.

Time and Date: February 10, 2015
1:00 PM-2:00 PM ET

Topic: How Your Bookstore Can Win Back Students and Recapture Sales

Webinar Summary:
Two years ago Davenport University was faced with declining student satisfaction over textbook prices and buying. This dissatisfaction was a leading indicator of what became material declines in bookstore utilization and sales.

Today, through a new lower cost textbook solution, Davenport has already saved students over $1.8 million, increased its bookstore utilization, has been able to optimize the physical store footprint and has dramatically increased student satisfaction.

Join this Webinar for a behind-the-scenes look at Davenport’s approach to winning back students and recapturing sales – and see how to make it work for your school.

Featured Speakers:

Jaye Lynn Bergers, Director of Procurement & Retail Services (Office of the CFO), Davenport U.

Geoffrey Katz, Vice President of Program Management, Akademos

Topics will include:

    • Developing Student Satisfaction Tracking and Key Findings
    • Bookstore Utilization Analysis and Sales Trends
    • Cross Functional Team Formation and Key Stakeholder Input
    • Technical Evaluations with areas like Financial Aid, Bursar, IT and Accounting
    • Key Factors for Moving to a New Solution
    • Outcomes and Results

 

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Reducing Textbook Costs, Webinar Wrap-Up: Materials Available for Download

John Jay Bookstore Outcome

John Jay chose an integrated online bookstore solution to maximize textbook savings.

In case you were interested but unable to attend yesterday’s How to Implement an Online Bookstore and Reduce Textbook Costs Webinar, we wanted to make the presentation and recording of the session available for you to download free by clicking here.

The feedback from attendees has been extremely positive. Most found hearing how other institutions are quickly implementing solutions that prioritize the success of its students by driving down the cost of textbooks, addressing this growing and significant problem across college campuses, extremely relevant and informative.

Topics reviewed in the Webinar by the Akademos and John Jay College teams included:

  • How to identify this growing and significant problem for students
  • The formation of a textbook savings committee
  • The student survey findings (including the response that 77% of students might not buy textbooks for one or more classes due to the high cost of materials)
  • Different solutions researched and the selection criteria
  • How the solution was quickly implemented and integrated
  • Key outcomes and results (including saving students over $150,000 in the fall term alone)

To learn more about expanding affordable textbook options for your students and solutions that could work for your school, we would be happy to set-up a personalized 1:1 consultation today.

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New Addition to the Akademos Team

As schools throughout the country focus more on textbook affordability and student success, we are pleased to announce the addition of Joe Diggins to the Akademos team.  As Senior Regional Sales Manager, Joe will focus on providing support and consultation to schools in the Western United States to help meet the rapid growth in conversations we are having with administrators about innovative bookstore solutions.

Joe has almost 15 years of experience in working to satisfy the needs of higher education institutions and most recently was with Cengage Learning supporting schools through the west.

Joe will be based in California and is a dedicated resource for administrators and faculty who would like to hear more about expanding affordable textbooks options for its students, online bookstore integration, mobile optimized commerce solutions, campus bookstore profitability analysis and more.

To learn more about our innovative bookstore solution and schedule a personalized 1:1 consultation, register here today.

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What we can learn from UMass Amherst’s decision to select Amazon as its bookstore provider

This week the University of Massachusetts’ flagship Amherst campus selected Amazon to provide textbooks and other learning materials for students beginning this fall.

This is a bold move from a major university.  It recognizes that textbooks are a major and increasing expense for students, adding to the already growing problem of student debt.  If these rising costs are not quickly addressed this will ultimately have a material impact on student performance and retention.

It also recognizes today’s students demand for transparency, value and convenience with everything they purchase.  They want to know that they are buying the right product, at the right price, and want to place their order quickly, across any device, at any time.

There are few companies in the college bookstore business that focus on student value and we are delighted to welcome Amazon to this list.   We think this development should raise the question of student value and service for every college administrator who faces mounting student complaints about the cost of their learning materials and is concerned about their bookstore sales declining.

We are delighted to see UMass at the forefront of this movement.  Similar to forward thinking Akademos partners like the City Colleges of Chicago, Davenport University and John Jay College, UMass understands that students are already moving online to seek value and in order to align the goals of the institution, they needed to pick an innovative bookstore provider to meet the future needs of its students.

Here are a few specifics of what colleges can learn from the UMass decision:

  • UMass has chosen to view providing textbooks and course materials as a core service to its students, opting to take only a small commission of 2.5% on sales.  This is a welcome development in a market where school commissions can often run above 10%, directly contributing to the increasing cost of books for students.  UMass has prioritized the success of its students over retail profits.
  • The college separated the sale of merchandise and apparel from the sale of textbooks.  Students will not be forced to pay steep prices for books to support the sale of other materials on campus.

Here are other important factors for colleges and universities to consider, based upon our 15 years of providing high-quality service to students across the country –

  • State of the art textbook adoption tools and a customer service staff that can provide personalized solutions to faculty on book selections and course material fulfillment is a critical component of the successful bookstore operation of the future.
  • Faculty having access to the full electronic catalog of learning products from publishers is also important.  As instructional labs and testing resources build online it’s critical that the library of products for any bookstore moves well beyond the textbook.
  • Seamless financial aid integration is a must.  Combining an easy to use, customized shopping experience for students with financial aid is the winning formula to bring students back to a school sanctioned bookstore website and purchasing all their course materials in a timely manner.

We think this is a wonderful development for higher education.  It is squarely a student-focused decision and any institution that follows this lead, whether with Amazon, Akademos, or another like company, will be putting the needs of educating students first.   In the end, this is good for education and great for companies like Akademos that focus single-mindedly on reducing costs for students and improving service for educators.

To learn more about expanding affordable textbook options for students at your school we would be happy to set-up a personalized 1:1 consultation.

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Akademos Saved Students over $10 Million in Textbook Costs in 2014

Akademos and its 120 partner institutions saved students over $10 million off the list price of textbooks and course materials last year.

“We are thrilled that in 2014, we were able to partner with 120 higher education institutions and drive over $10 million in savings for students,” said Chief Executive Officer John Squires of Akademos. “We believe that our low-cost, high-service approach will deliver positive results for college and university students throughout the country and save students even more in 2015.”  Most recently, we welcomed Roanoke College to our growing list of partner schools.

Akademos also announced that in 2014 it offered more than 12 million distinct ISBNs ready to ship to its partner institutions and students throughout the country.

Akademos is committed to supporting student success and positive educational outcomes by providing affordable textbook options for students and making the adoption of high-quality, low-cost materials more efficient for the campus community.

To see how the Akademos solution can work for your school, register today for a personalized 1:1 consultation.

 

 

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Textbook Costs Top of Mind for College Students

Winter break is quickly coming to an end and students nationwide are getting ready for the upcoming term.  We recently caught up with a returning freshman to find out what they were most and least excited about as they prepared to head back to school.

It was no surprise to us when this student noted the cost of textbooks as something they hate about going back to school. Students around the country are agitated by rising textbook costs and are seeking lower-cost course materials whenever possible.  This particular student was planning on ordering course materials for the upcoming term, despite cost, simply because they are required for class.  Additional interview questions can be found below.

 

Student Profile

School: CUNY John Jay College

Year: Freshman

Major: Security Management

 

Student Interview

Q: What is the most exciting thing about going back to school?
A: Looking at the syllabus and finding out what will be on the semester’s agenda

Q: Is there anything you hate about going back to school?
A: Expensive textbooks

Q: Do you plan on ordering textbooks for the upcoming term? Why or why not?
A: Yes, because they are required

Q: Where do you plan to shop for your textbooks?
A: The John Jay Online Bookstore

Q: What key considerations do you have when selecting your course materials?
A: Price and condition

Q: What changes could be made to make it better?
A: More discounts!

 

At Akademos, we strive to provide affordable course materials for all students.  Through our innovative bookstore solutions we offer a variety of textbook purchasing options including new, used, rental, and eBooks.  Students save an average of 60% off list price when they shop on our integrated marketplace (a network of third-party sellers).  To learn and see how the Akademos solution can save students money and lower textbook costs at your school, register today for a 1:1 consultation.

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Is Your Campus Bookstore Missing Textbook Sales?

This is a very important and sometimes difficult question to answer. However, there’s a good chance that more students than you think are purchasing course materials outside of your campus bookstore or even deciding not to purchase their materials at all.

Many administrators don’t have the data and/or an easy method to quickly make this determination. Even if it looks like your campus bookstore sales are strong, you may have a significant percentage of students not purchasing through the bookstore, which based upon current trends will only continue to grow over time. A recurring theme of declining textbook sales and students abandoning the official campus bookstore has surfaced in our discussions with many higher education institutions.

This has been a growing issue for many schools who now see their bookstore offering low cost textbook purchases as a core service to it’s students based upon the realization that the purchase of course materials in a timely manner is directly correlated to student (and ultimately institution) success, and even future funding.

For schools interested in understanding the magnitude of this migration we’ve developed a simple tool that can help estimate the percentage of students not purchasing their textbooks through your campus bookstore and track potential student savings. An estimate of the current textbook sales through your bookstore, student full-time enrollment population and a few other data points is enough to get us started.

If you’re interested in a confidential review of your potential migration and opportunity to capture textbook sales, register here for a 1:1 consultation.

 

 

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How College Bookstores Can Stop Losing Students

In response to mobile trends, our TextbookX store design and mobile-optimized platform delivers a simple, intuitive shopping experience.

Can your students easily shop your college bookstore from their smartphones and tablets?

This is the question that every college and university should be asking today. If not there’s a good chance that the number of students finding alternative outlets for buying their class materials, or worse, not purchasing their textbooks at all will grow dramatically over the next couple of years.

2014 was a clear tipping point in mobile commerce as seen through both daily observation and supported by data through many trustworthy sources.

For example, according to ComScore, consumers now spend more time with online retail on mobile devices (smartphone and tablets) than desktop and laptop computers.

From a commerce perspective, an eMarketer study estimates that in 2014:

  • Almost 20% of US Retail eCommerce will have come from purchases made on mobile devices, up 37% versus 2013
  • This growth is expected to rise at double digital rates for the next 4 years
  • Physical goods comprise the bulk of US Retail eCommerce dollars (85% in 2014)
  • 66% of US Mobile Commerce Sales are from Tablets and 32% from Smartphones

While this data doesn’t split out the higher education student population, the trends no doubt are even stronger for this tech savvy demographic.

According to a Nielsen 2014 smartphone study, 85% of the US population 18-24 are smart phone users, (versus 71% of everyone 18+).

As a company that focuses on both driving affordable textbooks options for students and providing them best-in-class user experiences and services for textbook shopping, we have a few recommendations when thinking about your bookstore’s online access:

  1. Make it easy for mobile users to browse the bookstore and seamlessly discover all their course materials in one place
  2. Your bookstore website should be optimized for mobile with easy to use commerce functionally
  3. The user interface should be built and optimized for touch navigation
  4. The website should have a responsive design that resizes automatically across smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops

Here at Akademos we launched a new online bookstore solution in 2014 with a fully responsive design and optimized for mobile browsing and commerce.  The response from students, faculty and administrators to this new site has been outstanding. Almost 90% of all students surveyed rated Akademos powered sites both Easy to Use and a Good Online Shopping Experience. In addition, course material sales from mobile devices grew 4x versus 2013.

For more specific information on how commerce and mobile trends are affecting your bookstore and student experience, register here for a personalized 1:1 consultation with our team.

Sources:

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Roanoke College Adopts Innovative Bookstore Solution

Roanoke College partners with AkademosWe’re pleased to announce that Roanoke College, a private liberal arts college in Virginia, has joined our list of partner schools. Roanoke, along with Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA, is among the growing list of Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) member schools that are moving to Akademos.

Starting in Fall 2015, Roanoke students can shop for books in the format of their choice— new, used, rental or eBook— and place orders anywhere, anytime through an online bookstore and marketplace. As an added benefit, Akademos’ planned integration with Roanoke’s Blackboard Transact OneCard will enable students to seamlessly apply financial aid toward their purchases.

“At Roanoke College, our mission is to develop students into community leaders and responsible citizens while also preparing them for productive careers,” said Mark Noftsinger, Vice President of Business Affairs. “As Roanoke’s academic curriculum is continually evolving to support student success, so too must the campus bookstore.”

“We’ve operated a very successful campus store for many years, but now we need an online platform to best serve our faculty and student needs for learning materials,” said Noftsinger. “Akademos’ ecommerce platform will give students a personalized shopping experience, and the Marketplace will meet student demand for competitively priced textbooks. In addition, we’ve consulted with Akademos to develop a plan to transition our on-campus store to a spirit shop that will focus on soft goods and service. We believe this approach will give Roanoke College the best combination of service and value.”

Akademos is excited for Roanoke students to experience our new store design and mobile-optimized shopping experience. We’re also committed to continuous innovation around the concepts of value and ease of use to improve service for Roanoke students, faculty and administrators alike.

To learn more and see how the Akademos solution can work for your school, register today for a 1:1 consultation.

Click here to view the full press release.

 

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How to Implement an Integrated Online Bookstore and Reduce Textbook Costs, Webinar registration now open!

This webinar is relevant for all schools looking to reduce textbook prices and increase student satisfaction.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1644744414026149378

Students save 60% on new, used, rental, and ebook texts at JohnJayBooks.com

Live webinar date: January 20, 2015

Time: 1:00 PM-2:00 PM ET

Registration: Space is limited! Register online today. 

Presenters: John Jay College CIO Joseph Laub and Geoff Katz, VP of Program Management at Akademos

Overview: Last year, John Jay College identified the diminishing returns of their brick and mortar school bookstore for both students and an issue with the college itself. In a survey administered by the school, 77% of students reported they might not buy textbooks for one or more of their classes due to the high cost of materials. Based upon these findings, there was a clear need to do something significant in order to reduce textbook costs and drive student success.

In just 2 months, John Jay launched a new bookstore solution that was fully integrated with its student and faculty systems. As a result, students were highly satisfied with the service (90% reporting the experience was “easy to navigate”) and to date have saved over $157,000.

Wondering how they did it? Join this webinar for a behind-the-scenes look at John Jay’s approach to implementing an integrated bookstore solution. Find out:

  • The steps John Jay took and how to make it work for your school
  • How Akademos’ SIS/ERP integration technology delivers a personalized student shopping experience
  • Other important Institutional and student benefits, like financial aid integration, reporting, and much more

Click here to register

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