SAVE THE DATES
CACS Annual Conference
& West Coast EXPO
November 4-7, 2013
|Message From The President
Karen Ward, CCR
TRAVEL TO MEGA ON CACS!
Registration Fee for MEGA $279
By now you should have all received an email about the exiting “Travel to MEGA on CACS” program. Your CACS Board was concerned that many of our member stores would not be able to attend MEGA due to budget cuts and travel restrictions. One of the Goals of the CACS Strategic Plan is to retain budget reserves for situations such as this. The Board decided to use a portion of those reserves to fund travel for one person from each member store to attend MEGA. You will find details of the program in the attachment that came with the email and also within this newsletter. Also, the $279 early registration fee for MEGA has been extended to October 5. This year, more than any in recent memory, it is important for all of us to attend the timely and informative education sessions the MEGA Education committee has compiled, as well as touch base with colleagues and bring back valuable ideas that can be shared with your campus. For buyers, the show specials at the MEGA EXPO will more than offset the price of the conference registration. If you have any questions about the Travel to MEGA on CACS program please contact Bob Anderson at (619) 466-0750 or email@example.com.
At MEGA I will be handing over the gavel to the able leadership of Tony Sanjume, so this will be my last newsletter article as President of CACS. It has been a challenging year, full of tough decisions. At the same time, it has been extremely gratifying. This is due in no small part to the people who make up CACS. I found that the friendships and connections that count in our industry are multiplied when you make the commitment to serve in a leadership role in the association. Old friends were there when I needed them and new friends came out of the woodwork to offer assistance. To all of you who have volunteered your time for CACS, thank you. You are truly what keeps CACS strong. To those who took the time to contact me when you didn’t agree with a Board decision, thank you for your input. You are also what keeps CACS strong. We may not always agree, but in a strong association we need to be able to present differing views. I hope to see many of you in Las Vegas later this month where
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION...
The UCLA Store, Academic Publishing Division Manager 1997-2002
Associate Arts Degree, Liberal Arts
I was on the AD-hoc Marketing committee with Suzanne Lutjen in 2007
Bob Van Der Meulen
Employed with NBC for over 25 years.
2002- Presenter, Education Session on Tidal Wave II, CACS Annual Meeting
Interests and Hobbies
|By Todd Summer
MEGA Committee Chair
Whether you are a community college, state university, or private college and whether you are an independent store, lease store, or private store, chances are that your rush was a bit underwhelming. Was this a surprise? Maybe it shouldn’t have been. The economy is soft, enrollments are generally down, and students have an ever growing number of alternative places to buy course materials, supplies and other items. So what now?
Mega is a place for us to engage with industry experts, share ideas, formulate strategies and prepare for the future. It’s easy to say spending revenue on travel in these tough times is not worth it, but isn’t it? Isn’t this the time when we have to travel? Isn’t this time when we can’t retreat? Isn’t this the time to double down and bet on ourselves? Well, isn’t it?
It’s time to act. It’s time to network. It’s time to engage.
Colleagues will be in Vegas for Mega. Industry experts will be in Vegas for Mega. Retail experts will be in Vegas for Mega.
Just look at who you will get a chance to see, listen to and engage with:
Jane Buckingham: She only works with customers of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Loreal, Chanel, Warner Bros, Target and others. These are our customers. Ms. Buckingham is also a best-selling author.
Ron Rosenberg: An award winning marketer. International marketer of the year, in fact. Just what we need.
Andrew Coghlan: An expert on Sustainability from the University of California Office of the President.
Greg Witt: A niche marketing adventurist. Sounds intriguing. Mr. Witt builds connections between today’s youth and brands. Cool.
Hal Plotkin: Mr. Plotkin has just signed on for Mega and will be with us for lunch on Wednesday. Mr. Plotkin is the Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of the Under Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education. Double Cool.
Ashley Merriman: If you didn’t notice, she hit the best seller list two weeks ago. Pick up a copy of her best-selling book. No charge.
Howard Behar: The former President of Starbuck’s will be a great pick me up.
Alexandra Fuller: Another best-selling author who will speak about her 2008 Book Sense Pick.
David Lida: The writer and editor for D.F., Mexico’s equivalent of The New Yorker. Mr. Lida might give you some insight into the best taco in Mexico.
Whew. That’s a lot. But there’s more.
Engage for Course Materials with CourseSmart, CafeScribe, Flat World Knowledge, and Merlot. Re-engage and revitalize your relationship with Pearson, Cengage, and Wiley. See what the Used Textbook Association is doing, too.
Engage in General Merchandise. Apparel with sessions from Maggie Leonard and Daryl Stevenson, supplies with Paula Haerr, computers and mobility with Kurt Bedell from Apple and Jayce Ralph from JDI Technologies , new products and services with David Smith and Jane Haeberle, and GB with Joan Keehan from NACSCORP. It’s all in Vegas.
Engage your employees with Ryan Butters and Jeff Whalen. Engage your faculty with George Masforroll and some other dude.
Engage with NACS, ICBA, and Connect2One. Visit with Mark Nelson on the digital world, Rich Hershman (with Don Newton) on legal issues, DeAnn Hazey on the College Store of 2015, Stacy Waymire on collaboration, and Mark Palmore giving away some green.
Geez, is there more?
You need to be there. Or your store will be square.
Obama Administration Official to Speak at MEGA
Retail Merchandise Committee
COURSE MATERIALS COMMITTEE
So what can stores do about it?
We have to find ways to boost sales in other areas. Course material sales will always be the majority of our total sales, but we have to look to other areas.
Asking professors what school supplies are needed for their courses (such as art, drafting and engineering) and then bundling them together and selling cheaper than they would cost individually. Doing the same thing for financial aid students who are authorized to purchase certain items. Bundling items together can be a big boost. Putting non-required items (BarCharts, Quik Study Guides and Cliffsnotes) next to required texts is another good way to increase sales. Soda and snacks is another hot seller. Allocate as much room as you can for these items. With students watching their money more closely, they purchase inexpensive “junk” food rather than more costly complete meals at the campus food court.
Skyline College Bookstore is doing a coupon program with custom loose-leaf books. They work with publishing companies to insert the coupon sheet in with the wrapped book and these coupons are for school supply items available in the store. They are printed on 60# paper in color ink to make it more tamper proof. Since these loose – leaf books are used for two years, the coupon is good for that entire time.
If sales on a certain title are not good, get the publisher rep involved. They may be able to address the issue with the instructor to see what can be done to improve sell through. Most stores order based on sales history so it is in their best interest to help out.
During rush, have a special sale everyday. On Monday, 10% of all hats, Tuesday, T-shirts, Wednesday, sweatshirts and so on.
Many of us are under “no travel” policies because of this budget crisis. If at all possible get to the Mega Regional in Las Vegas in October. It will be a great place to not only attend the educational sessions that are always helpful, but for us to network and learn from each other what we are doing to deal with the challenges before us. We would encourage all of you to attend this year’s conference the week of October 26-30, 2009. Word of mouth and practical knowledge can be very helpful in times like these as we all look for ways to remain financially viable.
We hope to see you all in Las Vegas.
When the economy was strong and sales increases common, the smart thing was to continue doing what drove those increases. Over the last year, most astute retailers have retooled and refocused their businesses in order to deal with the profound changes in the economy, the marketplace, and consumer buying. Yet, other retailers have done little to adapt to this new environment.
Neighborhood marketing guru Tom Feltenstein and Mac Anderson wrote a terrific little book a couple of years ago--Change Is Good...You Go First. The book, which is available at simpletruths.com, lays out the case for change in a straight-forward way empowering anyone to make real changes in their business.
Why is it so important to make changes in business now? The reasons are diverse and reflected in the weighty challenges retailers face right now. Many years ago Albert Einstein suggested three rules for work that can still be applied to nearly every business today.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
One community that's seen the effect of change or lack thereof is Richmond, Virginia. Ukrop's Supermarkets opened in 1937 and now operates 28 stores in Richmond and other towns in the state. For a long time, it was leading supermarket chain in the marketplace. Recently Ukrop's lost that lead to Food Lion, headquartered in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Retailers have long understood the absolute importance of making it easy and convenient for customers to do business with their stores, yet Ukrop's remains closed on Sundays. Other retailers in many categories have added alcohol to their merchandise selection, yet no alcohol is available in Ukrop's stores.
The family's strong religious beliefs dictate these policies. While I respect their beliefs, I question their business judgment and understanding of the diversity of customers living in a city like Richmond. Customers expect and deserve convenient shopping and the best selection, so operating a broad-based business around religious beliefs does not serve anyone's best interests.
My earliest retail experience was working at a music store in my home town of Sacramento, California. My employer, Maurie Silverman, was an Orthodox Jew who left the store well before sundown Friday afternoons and didn't return until after sundown on Saturdays. While he observed his Sabbath, I and the other employees operated the store and served the many customers who would come in on busy Saturdays. He strongly believed that every customer should be served well regardless of his own personal religious beliefs. His was a more reasonable approach to doing business.
As this is written Ukrop's is up for sale with the likely buyer being either Harris Teeter or Supervalu.
Are you doing things that limit your opportunities? If so, make the necessary changes to move your business forward and better serve your customers and your community.
By Anne M. Obarski
Does the word "report card" still make your stomach do flip-flops?
It does mine! I can remember having to ask my parents for the "dreaded" signature on the infamous envelope that needed to be returned to school. I never had bad grades but I knew that it was a parent's right, to question you about the status of each grade. Of course the big A's in Gym and Chorus and Home Economics never seemed to cover up the C's in Math or Social Studies!
Usually the whole conversation boiled down to those last words, "We know you can do better. Whew, does that mean I'm not grounded??? I would whisk the card right out of their hands and vow that the next grading period would be better.
Report cards are not only given to students but to companies and employees of all sorts of businesses. Some of the report cards come packaged as yearly performance reviews of employees and some come from actual customers in a mystery shopper "survey" format. No matter what the style, those results usually instill panic and cause most people to become defensive, even if the information is good!
Customers and clients develop mental "report cards" for most businesses that they deal with. The categories can vary but they are usually based on their personal experiences with each and every company, from the initial contact, to the final sale, and any further follow-up that may been needed.
So how can you keep your CRC- Customer Report Card in the "A" range?
Here are 5 simple questions to ask yourself that could separate you from your competition and give you a better GPA!
1. What does the exterior of your business say about you? Is there sufficient parking? Is the exterior clean and well lit? Is the entrance bright and inviting? Are the window displays neat and well-merchandised? Does the front of your business truly invite customers to come in? Does the exterior say, "Hey, you just can't afford not to stop in"?
These are five tough questions for any business to answer. You don't have to be a retailer for these questions to apply. Every business has clients that are unconditionally loyal. I believe that number is dwindling as the number of new businesses increases. People have many more choices and are more focused and truthful when they make out the report cards!
What are you doing the best in? What is your "A" subject? What area needs a little more studying or research? How willing are you to spend the time to really improve the grade? Like my parents always said, "I know you can do better"! If not, I'll bet your competition can.
Creating departments that feature your employees
Niche marketing. Isn't that the buzzword in the retail industry in recent history? Add anything: any number of specialty products or services, things to make a profit, or draw customers into your store, ways that will help to distinguish you from the other retailers, whether they be other retailers, discounters, or big boxes. This is niche marketing.
To develop a niche department, retailers have usually seen the idea at another retailer's location, seen it at a trade show, or read about it in a trade magazine. In addition to creating a niche department, there are special services that you can offer, or different ways of promoting your business that will set you apart. Services such as free gift-wrapping, free delivery, or discounts to seniors or non-profit groups, help you to become separated from the chains.
More often, a retailer has returned from a trade show with an idea for a niche and upon introduction of the idea in a staff meeting, someone was assigned to carry out the task and develop the idea. In our travels, we found many stores that have developed their trademark niches because someone wanted to do something special.
We met another retailer that had an employee that had previously worked in the advertising industry. This employee took what was a coupon insert to 300 statements, and created a six-page newsletter that was mailed to over 2,200 customers. The newsletter became the focal point of this retailer’s advertising. The newsletter even had profitable months as they sold display ads to their commercial customers. This extensive advertising background became a tremendous asset as he took charge.
A retailer that we visited frequently began to show signs of a remerchandised sales floor. The arrival of a new employee brought the necessary talents. As he reset his entire store, it had been this employee that came to the front, showing his merchandising skills. Another of his skills that was most obvious to other team members, was his work in coordinating sales circulars and the early ordering of these items.
A retailer that was more known for his salesmanship than his financial management skills was fortunate to find a talented organizer on his sales floor. This person had previously worked seasonally for a tax preparation service. This employee is now working in the office and has spent many hours streamlining the office procedures as well as doing an excellent job of overseeing cash flow. Most customers and team members see little of this employee, but the management team knows of her behind the scene work.
This brings us back to the first employee and her question. Hopefully in many stores, she can begin to answer the question herself. Where does she fit in? What talents does she bring to the team? How can she make the store more valuable to its customers, and more profitable? It may take several weeks for a retailer to see the answers. The answer might entail her taking over the duties of another team member so that they can focus their energy in another area. Everyone benefits. The store continues to grow. And the team member gets the satisfaction that does not occur in most jobs. They have made a difference. If they were not there, there would be a big hole.
There have been numerous surveys that we have read, that note that the salary is not the most important part of a job to an employee. Sense of contribution and value are usually at the top of the important factor list. If a person's presence on our team does not make a difference, then that person is probably the one that is most easily replaced. In training our new young team members, we stressed that a strong work ethic included a determination to make one's presence felt by the efforts that were put forth.
Cengage Learning, one of the world's leading providers of print and digital information services for the educational and library markets, announced that Renee’ Sparks has been promoted to Vice President of Faculty and Customer Service for the Academic & Professional Group of Cengage Learning.
Sparks began her career at Cengage Learning 15 years ago when she joined as a customer service representative. Today, she is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of over 140 employees. Most recently, as the Executive Director of Faculty and Customer Service, Sparks has been instrumental in the integration of the Houghton Mifflin College Division, which was acquired by Cengage Learning in 2008. Sparks was responsible for the seamless integration of data, processes and procedures among the companies, ensuring that business and customer satisfaction was not disrupted.
In her continued effort to improve customer service, Sparks also reorganized the department to include a dedicated quality assurance team to ensure that all customer calls are managed professionally and accurately. While Sparks has made significant contributions internally, it is her dedication and passion for meeting customer needs that truly sets her apart. Sparks meets with many college store customers one-on-one at college store conventions, and she looks forward to meeting many more going forward.
“I am thrilled to accept this promotion,” said Sparks. “I look forward to the future contributions I can make to Cengage Learning customer service while continuing to serve our college store clients with the attentive customer service they have come to know and expect.”
For more information about the leading print and digital information services that Cengage Learning provides, please visit www.cengage.com. College stores can access industry-leading resources and account-specific tools at www.serviceplus.cengage.com.
By Francois Basili, President, HumaNext LLC
Different organizations have used different methods, some achieving a good degree of success and some resulting in miserable failure. At HumaNext, we have examined a large number of employee engagement efforts, read many reports, research papers, and books on the topic, and learned from our own in-depth experience with organization-wide employee engagement and culture change initiatives to arrive at what truly works, and what doesnâ?™t. Let me quickly state that the programs that fail are usually those based on the old carrot and stick management style that totally misses the point of employee engagement. Some of these initiatives are run by corporate communicators and HR leaders who use top-down approaches driven by goals formulated by leaders, not employees. They see in employee engagement just another way to achieve higher returns on investment, and with this they saw the seeds of their failure.
Employees usually see through such efforts and realize that itâ?™s just another carrot thrown to them by management to get them to be more committed to working harder. All the communication and training in the world will not be able to impress employees to buy into such efforts. It usually takes a year or two of a lot of wasted effort and money before management finally realizes that the program is a failure, and quietly lets it die a natural death.
Communication and training can help support a solid, honest employee engagement initiative. But they cannot create one based on a camouflaged top-down leadership approach that is not committed to changing its own ways of managing before asking employees to show more engagement at work. From our experience, the most effective, and perhaps the really only way, to inspire employee engagement is through going directly to the core of human needs that spur action. In our â?œEmployee Engagement for Changeâ?? program we summarized these human needs in the statement, â?œThe Dignity to be and the Freedom to Do.â?? Employees need to feel appreciated and recognized as unique human beings before they begin to consider giving you any of their hearts and minds. The second human need that must be met is for employees to apply their talent, in their own way, to achieve organizational goals. This is the way people create themselves through their work. Work becomes a way for self-actualization. Dedication to work becomes self-generated. Engagement becomes something employees seek for their own inner rewards. Only then will engagement occur and deliver results for the organization.
Â© 2009 HumaNext. To receive a sample package of Employee Engagement for Change program send complete business contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org