University Store at UCM Makes a Big Impact with Mobile App
On the cutting edge of collegiate retail
Mobile commerce is more important than ever. Consumers are attached to their cell phones from the time they wake up to the time they fall asleep at night, making it essential for retailers to connect through this channel. Charlie Rutt, director of University Store, University of Central Missouri, realized this early on, so when MBS debuted a mobile app exclusively for college stores, he jumped at the opportunity to adopt it.
"We've used On The Go for a little over a year now," he explained. "MBS always does their level best to keep me at the forefront of retail and provide college stores with the latest and greatest in the industry; that's what I respect most about their company. So, as MBS Store Technology Solutions rolls out new products, I try to be quick to implement them."
For Rutt, the most important part of On The Go is its impact on customer perception. Offering mobile access to inventory through an app is simply expected in today's world.
"Our customers are used to being able to pull up an app for other retailers, and they inevitably view bookstores as being behind the times," Rutt described. "When they find out we have an app, they're pleasantly surprised by all that our store can do. Just having it available is worth a lot to us."
When they find out we have an app, they're pleasantly surprised by all that our store can do.— Charlie Rutt
For instance, students have asked their friends who work as student employees in the store how much their textbook is going to cost. Instead of telling them they don't know, the staff members simply pull out their phone and show them, using On The Go.
"They're always so impressed and say that they didn't realize they could do that," he explained. "I encourage our student employees to have the app on their phone for that reason. It puts more utility and control in the hands of our customers. "When they find out we have an app, they're pleasantly surprised by all that our store can do. Just having it available is worth a lot to us. Rutt also likes the buyback piece that allows students to scan their books and see how much the store is paying.
"That's a really nice feature to offer our customers," he added
The biggest asset of On The Go, however, is the tech-savvy image it provides the store.
"It's about fulfilling your responsibility as a retailer and having all your ducks in a row," Rutt emphasized. "Fourteen years ago, before we had the MBS system, our customers were very critical of what we weren't doing with technology; we don't get those comments anymore. On The Go and our other retail technology solutions strengthen our preparedness in the eyes of our customers — they help us generate positive attention, rather than negative."
Based on his positive experience, Rutt suggests that other stores explore a mobile option.
"I absolutely recommend On The Go to other college stores — it's worth at least investigating," he continued. "Now is the time to embrace technology and use it to let the consumer take charge. With a mobile app, I'm giving them what they want, when they want and the independence to get it on their terms, not mine."
About University of Central Missouri:
- FTE: 12,494
- Adopted MBS On The Go Mobile App as a value-add to students
- Concentrated on displaying a more tech-savvy image to customers
- 92% of UCM graduates are employed within six months of receiving their degree
About MBS On The Go Mobile App:
- Increases customer perception of bookstore
- Allows students to check and compare textbook prices as well as look up bookstore merchandise
- Allows students to check buyback prices by scanning bar codes on the books