Case Study: Randolph College

When issues with their previous solution made Randolph College choose a new online course material fulfillment provider in 2012, it opted to partner with MBS Direct. What they got was more than just lower costs on course materials and an intuitive Online Bookstore — it got better service for its school and students in every step of the process.

Randolph College Lowers Costs to Students Through MBS Direct

Seeking better student service

After a stint with a leased store, Randolph College tried its first foray into the online bookstore model with a different partner. Though Student Accounts Supervisor and Campus Store Manager Wendy Deitrick came on after the switch to MBS Direct, she offered insight to the organizational issues that prompted the change.

"One of my roles is student advocate, and from the student perspective, customer service was not good, communication was not good and the length of time between ordering to receiving the book on campus wasn't reliable," Deitrick said.

We moved to MBS Direct to try and improve customer service and our relationships with all involved parties.

— Wendy Deitrick

Pricing down, orders up

Pricing is a continual point of interest for Randolph College's faculty, who are motivated to help students save as much as possible on their course materials.

It was enough of a concern that administrators and faculty alike sought ways to keep cutting prices even after their switch to MBS Direct. That's why school administrators worked with their MBS Direct account manager to enable Marketplace pricing in their Online Bookstore.

Now students can tap into discounts of up to 95% off the new list price from select vendors vetted to sell through MBS Direct, while resting assured that they are getting the right titles and editions for their courses.

Deitrick said by giving the discounts associated with independent third party sellers without sacrificing any of the bookstore benefits, Randolph College has seen an increase in total students ordering from the Online Bookstore. The college also worked with MBS Direct to offer promotional pricing on shipping, giving students an even larger discount when shopping for their course materials.

Personalized service

As with any major change, students and faculty experience road bumps as they get used to the new way they adopt and order course materials. Deitrick said a close working relationship with the school's dedicated account manager has helped overcome any issues they've had.

I've had the same account manager [during my time here]. He and I know how each other work, what's going to come up, and what we'll need. By having him as our main contact, we've ironed out a lot of those wrinkles.

— Wendy Deitrick

Marketplace and other services help students save, but savings aren't the only services Randolph College students get when ordering through their Online Bookstore.

Deitrick also noted MBS Direct's willingness to listen to concerns and put in extra effort to help resolve issues, sometimes before they even happen.

For example, one of the Marketplace sellers was taking longer than usual to send a book to a student. To ensure she would have the course materials she needed to be successful from the beginning of the term, MBS lent her a copy of the title to use until the Marketplace book she ordered arrived, and then assisted her in the return of the loaner.

Reaching faculty

Negative experiences with past textbook/course material providers proved disappointing to Randolph College's faculty, and as a result they have historically encouraged students to self-source their titles. Deitrick said that in addition to providing improved service over Randolph College's previous solution, MBS Direct sent representatives to meet with faculty to personally answer questions and clear up misconceptions.

"Just that gesture in itself made me 100% sure they're committed to making it work," she said. "I've had some very good conversations with some of the faculty members and they are coming around. I've also had support of the Vice President of Finance and Dean of the College to make that happen. It's a concerted effort of everyone involved."

About Randolph College:

  • FTE: Approximately 681
  • 10:1 student-faculty ratio
  • Liberal arts college offers 29 majors and 43 minors
  • Study abroad program partners with University of Reading in England

About MBS Direct:

  • Online Bookstore allows ordering anytime, anywhere
  • Reduces course material costs for students
  • Streamlines faculty adoptions
  • 24/7 customer service for your students
  • Works with each school to develop a custom solution that's right for them