Goldey-Beacom College Sees Bright Future with MBS Direct Online Bookstore
The turning point in textbook distribution
For as long as Kris Santomauro, Vice President for Administration/Finance, can remember, Goldey-Beacom College handled all of their textbook sales in-house through an on campus bookstore. However, as textbook sales continued to decline, the campus knew they needed to explore other options.
"We had to find a solution that would offset our costs with revenue, and our current distribution method just wasn't achieving that," she explained. "It got to the point where we felt it was in the best interest of our students to find a more cost-effective alternative."
Choosing a partner
As a result, they decided to take their textbook inventory online, because it was both cost effective for their store as well as convenient for their students and faculty. When searching for a provider, two aspects were very important for the institution: integration with Student Financial Aid and the ability to offer textbook options including rental and digital.
"There had been a continued displeasure with the cost of our course materials; our store was too small to offer students all of the options they were looking for and, with the evolution toward digital course materials, it made sense to go with a provider that could assist us in that area," she said. "Our sell-through rates were still relatively high though, at about 80% for undergraduates and 20% for graduate students, because if students had SFA, then they had to buy their textbooks on campus. So, it was important to us to find a service that would still allow them to use those funds."
After doing some research, Santomauro and her colleagues agreed that MBS was the best provider to meet their needs.
"We had partnered with MBS in the past to assist with textbook rentals and buybacks, and we'd always had a good experience with the company," she described. "We also checked a few references and received very positive feedback."
Transitioning to an online operation
Once the decision was made, Santomauro and her staff worked with their dedicated Client Representatives at MBS to facilitate the transition.
"MBS was wonderful to work with and helped us get everything up and running," she said. "Their staff made the transition as easy as could it be; the hardest part was just educating students on the change and how they needed to order their books now that we've taken our textbook inventory online."
Developing a new focus for their on-campus store
Their on-campus store didn't simply disappear, however. The location simply has a more merchandise-centric focus now.
"We still sell apparel, school supplies, gifts and other similar items," she said. "It's allowed us to regain a lot of space, and we're still determining how to best allocate all of that room."
According to Santomauro, there have been several other key benefits to the move, including reduced staffing costs and minimized workload.
"It's helped us simplify a complex situation," she explained. "We don't have to deal with the hassle of ordering, stocking and shipping textbooks anymore, and that's been a big benefit."
The process is much easier for students, as well. They're able to browse and order textbooks at any time from any location, and have every textbook option available to them.
"MBS offers loose-leaf, rental, digital; really as many options as are possible," she said. "They do some nice promotions with free shipping for our students, too."
Anticipating a bright future
Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, is the bright future that the MBS Direct Online Bookstore brings with it. Rather than worrying about lost revenue and customer complaints, both the store and institution can rest assured knowing that their students are receiving affordable options and exemplary service through their online solution.
"As we move to digital textbooks several years down the road, having an online store will only become more beneficial," she emphasized. "No one likes change, but the MBS Direct Online Bookstore has allowed us to offer our students options that we just couldn't provide at our store. It's been great."
About Goldey-Beacom College:
- FTE: 652
- Experienced declining sales in its on-campus store
- Transitioned to the MBS Direct Online Bookstore in 2012
- Benefitted from streamlined workload and enhanced customer service
- Now uses on-campus store for merchandise and apparel
MBS Direct Online Bookstore:
- Capture internet sales
- Experts in Direct-to-Student Textbook Distribution since 1992
- Increase revenue and profitability
- Reduced costs to students
- Streamlined shopping experience
- 24/7 customer service