Technology Enables Improved Outlook for Campus Retailing

March 05, 2012


In a seemingly endless tide of new advances and innovations, technology continues to change the retail landscape. Providing increased access to product choice and more convenient ways to deliver and pay for products, technology has always been a significant enabler for consumers while representing a costly and moving target for retailers. In recent years, campus bookstores have been impacted by online retailers, but many are now recapturing business with help from Barnes & Noble College.

Creating a Quality Retail Experience

The leading campus store operator has long made a commitment to its customers to lead the industry with a continual investment in next-generation technology. It’s the kind of technology that both links and reaches across every aspect of campus retailing; from merchandise management to research, to marketing and customer transactions. Bringing that power to the college bookstore has enabled both a better in-store customer experience and created a stronger online retail platform as Steve Culver, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Barnes & Noble College, explains. “In the retail industry, like so many other industries, technology is the enabler; whether students or faculty are in-store or online, technology drives the quality of the retail experience.”


Hear from Steve Culver, Vice President and CIO,
on how technology is critical to the operation of your campus store.

Recognizing the need to help colleges deliver wider product choice and build stronger campus revenues, Barnes & Noble College has recently completed one of the largest technology initiatives in the company’s history with the development of a new point-of-sale (POS) system. The advantages for the college customer are considerable. In addition to keeping more retail revenue on campus, this kind of superior technology can also reduce customer wait times, enable online access from anywhere on the campus, and help with payment and fulfillment options. “The campus bookstore now has the fastest check-out times of any college retailer.” Culver points out. “And we can more easily integrate with financial aid and college debit card systems,” he adds.

More Choice, More Access

Technology also provides shoppers with more choices in the way they shop for the products and services they need. It’s award-winning and customized e-commerce sites give students a fast and easy way to purchase textbooks and materials, while upgrades to the company’s mobile device strategy enables connectivity through a variety of different methods including web, tablet and smart phone devices. The company has also recently integrated college bookstore Facebook pages with their eCommerce sites to create one of the smartest and most forward-looking technology initiatives in the industry. It’s an ambitious goal, but one Culver is confident in delivering, “We will touch every system – from our new LMS NOOK Study building block to our student financial aid real-time interface,” he said.

Today’s students, faculty and alumni have more convenience and wider access to a choice of retail options than ever before, and while that’s good news for the consumer, it’s also great news for college retailing. Technology is just one of the tools Barnes & Noble College is using to provide the campus with a competitive advantage and provide a best-in-class shopping experience by placing the college brand front and center of the retail experience.