For anyone with a college bound student in their house, congratulations! This is an exciting time for the whole family, especially for the recent high school graduate embarking on a new environment in the very near future.
Our home has one of those excited freshman-to-be and our actual (and virtual) mailboxes are overflowing with solicitations for dorm-related merchandise. Everything from bed linens and towels to wall decorations and storage solutions are promoted in a dizzying array of styles and colors.
And colleges supply their own laundry list of must-haves for dorm students, along with a number of chosen businesses that will readily supply selected products directly to your home.
Today’s savvy shopper knows their time is limited, their child’s attention span is even more limited, and most parents just want to select what’s truly needed and be done.
This is where the small business owner can supply a valuable service to their customers. Even though summer has barely begun, it’s time to jump into the college mindset, reach out to customers who are looking for what’s really necessary in terms of college gear and even provide advice for their future freshman:
- Create signage to attract students and parents alike. Consider bright colors and bold wording in your store window and in the shop itself, such as “Must Haves for College” along with a list of student-related merchandise that you can provide.
- Think outside the college box. While most students are looking for bedding and storage boxes, many will need screwdrivers and other hardware-related items. Others are looking for new computer and/or printer for their dorm room. Check out a local college must-have list and you’ll be amazed how many items may be found at your establishment.
- Market your audience online. Don’t assume parents will know your selection will meet their needs. Use your social media outlets to remind them just how you can help. And throw in a discount or coupon for that extra nudge.
- Offer that shoulder to lean on. Many parents are just not ready to let go. They may turn to you for advice or even share their fears of their chick leaving the nest, especially if that bird is flying across the country. Prepare for tears and have the tissues ready.
By providing a selection of college-related merchandise and offering that local touch, you can help set your customers’ minds at ease.
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