Thursday, March 04, 2010

Online Learning and Campus Retail

The New York Times had an interesting discussion on their "Room for Debate" blog yesterday. The discussion was focused on the value of online learning on college campuses, and who benefits - the college or the student? A number of education pundits weigh in, and the majority of authors were of the opinion that nothing beats the classroom experience.

I thought what was missing from this discussion was the adult lifelong learning experience, as well as career centered learning. Often we have the opportunity to take advantage of educational sessions at conferences and seminars. However, there is a growth in online learning opportunities these days. This is a great way to get some valuable advice and education in a cost effective way. I found these online sessions at the website:

"Creating Retail Events" is a good basic primer on integrating the campus store into college life. A number of examples, from sustainability to student choirs, show how a campus store can create excitement and traffic in the store through special events. There is not a one size fits all model for every campus and college store. Rather, the store needs to seek out the activities and desires of their unique customer base, and develop relationships that create unique and engaging events.

"Visual Merchandising" is a well developed and smart introduction to the basics of VM, not only at campus stores, but also at trend setting general retailers. You can tell that Patty McCray-Roberts knows her stuff, and she walks us through all the visual merchandising principles of balance, color, themes, and focal points. I cheered out loud when she talked about simplicity in display. So important - remove the clutter!

So impressive, I would take this presentation and show it to all my staff at orientation, when talking about the power of merchandising and in store marketing.

"Creating a Team that Delivers" is another good basic primer on developing strong and powerful teams with your store. Once again, the power of good recruitment, orientation and training is emphasized as the cornerstone of creating a strong positive team culture. I liked the reminder to celebrate employee success - the need to say thanks, and value each employee's contribution to the store's success.

There are more sessions to watch and hear. Check them out, and make an employee lunch out of it, creating a quick on site educational moment for all.

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