‘We’ll remember always, graduation day,’ intones the iconic Beach Boys song, and although the music and times may have changed, the excitement surrounding graduation certainly hasn’t. As college life winds to an end, the class of 2013 finds itself with the same anticipation and the same needs as students before them. To ensure a perfect day for graduates and their parents, Barnes & Noble College is making sure that the relationships it established with the same students, who have relied on their campus store throughout their college experiences, continue with a memorable send off.
For students who have used digital networking for much of their academic lives, it’s not surprising that there’s a social media component to some of the activities Barnes & Noble College has planned. “This year, we’re giving graduates the chance to provide advice for incoming and current students,” explains Tamara Vostok, Consumer & New Media Marketing Manager for Barnes & Noble College. “On Facebook, we’re running a sweepstakes where students can offer up their tips and suggestions,” she adds. The advice includes everything from care in choosing their major courses, to a variety of suggestions on how best to enjoy and get the most from college life. “The Facebook program doesn’t just provide the opportunity to win in the sweepstakes, but also the chance to feel like they’re supporting other students as they make that next step out into the world,” Vostok says. Barnes & Noble College will be taking some of these quotes in a cross-channel campaign and pinning them to Pinterest with accompanying imagery to inspire the in-coming class and existing students alike.
In addition to advice, another thing there should be no shortage of during graduation is grad gear. In order to help parents, friends and the graduates themselves make sense of it all, selected Barnes & Noble College stores are featuring ‘pop-up’ displays, which function as a store-within-a-store and enables shoppers to find all their graduation gifts in one place. The eye-catching displays showcase a wide variety of graduation merchandise and make it easy and convenient to shop for that perfect gift. Although piloted in twenty stores, the idea has been so well received that the grad pop-up shop is expected to roll out to three times as many store locations for next graduation. Store activity has also been supported by email campaigns to both parents and students, detailing the broad choice of graduation gifts available – from diploma frames to alumni license plates.
As graduation approaches, Barnes & Noble College store managers are working on a variety of different ways to help graduates and visitors enjoy their celebrations right up to commencement. At Rutgers University, the graduation activity is shared across five satellite locations in addition to the main store, and Barnes & Noble at Rutgers Bookstore General Manager Len Oser explains they will even be taking a store to the celebrations. “We have two trailers we use for game day during the football season, which we take over to the stadium to act as an on-site store during the event,” he says. “In addition to being able to provide regalia for those who have forgotten, or even lost theirs, we also have a full range of graduation merchandise on the trailers to help anyone looking for last-minute gift ideas,” Oser adds.
Through a variety of different programs and initiatives, Barnes & Noble College is ensuring nothing is forgotten for the big day – and online, in-store or in-person – is ready to help create a most memorable and special day.