As technology increasingly dominates school functionality, working systems Tech Stores and campus stores that sell tech are expected to evaluate, implement, stock new technology for each new term. Tech buyers are responsible for managing a variety of solutions, but in the busy tech market, it’s easy to get distracted and end up purchasing something that your customers may not really need and your students don’t really want. Often you can end up with inventory and stock that ends up sitting and diminishing in value before you turn around.
With all the moving parts that must be managed, it’s helpful to have a checklist of major items that need to be considered, planned for, and addressed to avoid extra unneeded inventory in the end.
Here’s a quick checklist guide to making sure you’re covered for this upcoming school term:
1. TAKE IT ONLINE
Make your web site your best sales person. Aside from the incremental revenue that a well functioning web site adds to our sales - a website can save bundles of money in store personnel, and additional help necessary for peak periods. A website reflects the image and reputation of your store - and a sharp and reliable website will increase sales. In fact, in one Southern based college with multiple campuses… taking their business online increased their revenue by 62%. It’s critical to make sure that your website is up and running with the latest information. Make sure it is accessible and user friendly for all the students and staff who’ll be using the site. Nowadays, having a mobile version is essential. Being able to post and read the latest announcements as they’re posted will save everyone valuable time.
2. JUST IN TIME INVENTORY
Just-in-time inventory helps you to manage cash flow. When you stock up and buy inventory in bulk, you may get better prices, but you're likely to buy more than you need for your present purposes. Your working capital will then be tied up in materials that just sit on the shelf for the foreseeable future. Just-in-time inventory reduces the clutter that is an inevitable result of keeping too much stock on hand. With reduced clutter, you'll have space to operate more efficiently. Just-in-time inventory management also reduces waste because the farther out you predict demand and purchase inventory, the greater the likelihood you'll buy items that won't be used. When dealing with technology purposes, just in time inventory is almost a must - tastes shift, products are discontinued and stock can become obsolete. Buying just what you need for present purposes helps you to sync more accurately with demand and ensures that you stay current. Vendors and suppliers today are all equipped to handle the JUST IN TIME PROCESS - so take advantage of their capabilities and stay poised for growth.
3. COMMUNICATING YOUR VALUE PROP
How to communicate what is going on in your store, and what’s new. In addition to the website, tech managers need to study what communication channels to consider. Mobile apps are becoming a very popular method for stores to communicate information like sales, new product intros, events. Social media is also becoming a popular way for schools to communicate. The message dictates which platform is best used to share it – Twitter is ideal for sending quick updates such as school closures while Facebook is more ideal for longer posts or to share weekly blog posts, videos, or events.
There are so many things to consider when choosing the right device for your students, including the primary use for the device, what courses your students will be taking, and what are the course requirements for which your students need a device. Different grade levels require different device power and functionality, so you should consider what the students will be using it for and what apps will be required to run on the device. Features and functionality such as processor, graphics cards, memory and the need for dvd areall factors to consider when selecting devices for your store.
5. IPAD/TABLET/MICROSOFT SURFACE
Apple ranks as the leading tablet vendor holding 29% share of the global tablet market in 2018, though Android OS ranks over Apple’s iOS as the most popular operating system since 2012, with 62% of tablets used in schools running on Android OS. Samsung and Acer all make budget priced tablets running Android OS - so check out those offerings from your suppliers to ensure that you stock tablet devices that make you margin. Taking it a step further Microsoft’s newest entry the Surface Go is an iPad killer, with a fully functioning Win 10 Pro OS, and full laptop functionality, starting at only $399.
6. PROTECTING DEVICES PART I
It’s easy to focus on purchasing your devices and overlooking how you will protect the devices themselves. Students are most likely to damage their laptops through bumps and drops which leads to additional costs for them to replace and repair devices - not to mention their down times. Independent studies show that the breakage rate of non-cased devices is nearly triple that of devices in a quality case, noting 8.5% device breakage on average for non-cased devices versus 2.6% when cased. One of the smartest long-term investments for your students is a protective case for their Tech Device that will shield the device from breaking. i-Ecko makes a protective, quality, neoprene case/sleeve with carrying strap protective cases will provide cost savings in the long run.
6. PROTECTING DEVICES PART II
But what happens when and if a device does break? As the expert in store you need torecommend and attach a warranty to the devices that your students buy from your store. Did you know that all new Surface devices now come with an advanced device exchange feature, allowing for a new device to be sent even prior to the old one being returned. And if you are not buying a Surface, make sure you recommend any third party warranty, like Safeware or CPS to devices that you carry in order to ensure the ultimate in customer experience.
7. GET BRAND NAMES FOR LESS
You want to ensure students flock to your store as the destination on campus for everything great. Shop your vendors to ensure that your product represents yourstudents needs and even more than that, that your line-up ensures that students are drawn to your store like a magnet. Products such as Apple Beats, GO Pro, etc... may be available from your suppliers at costs that will allow you margin and ensure that students keep coming back.
8. CONFIRM BUDGET - AND PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Budgeting and planning is about choosing the right inventory of tech products that will meet your customers needs - while also being mindful of the demographic you are serving. Don’t run into a product line, but research it with your student staffers to get their valued opinion. Ensuring that the various aspects of your technology mix are ready to go for a new school term is a huge undertaking. To get off to a successful start this term, make sure you create and consult a checklist and expand it for items that are unique to your situation. You can reuse this list as you prep for each new term and use it as atraining tool for new Technology staff. Creating and reviewing a “Tech Checklist” each year will ensure that your staff and you create growing sales and increased revenue year after year.