Monday, September 9, 2013

UBS contest encourages early online textbook ordering

By Ryan Jarvi  

A few Grand Valley State University students who ordered textbooks online early in the summer through the University Bookstore were rewarded, but those waiting until the last minute weren’t able to place an online order or view other purchasing options through GVSU Choose.
For the second year in a row, UBS helped a few lucky students with college expenses by holding its Textbook Giveaway Contest, but due to a large number of last minute, online textbook orders, the bookstore had to shut down its online ordering system, which also closed off the GVSU Choose program to students.

The GVSU Choose program allows students to view other options through which to purchase books when shopping online.

“We invested in this program because it was in the students’ best interests for us to do so,” said Jerrod Nickels, manager of UBS. “It (also) helps UBS by demonstrating that our pricing is, in fact, highly competitive. While we do not always offer the least expensive online option, our pricing is very competitive and we want our student customers to be able to see that for themselves.
Because the GVSU Choose program is connected to the bookstore’s online ordering system, both had to be shut down when the bookstore couldn’t keep up with demand.“It would be our preference to keep both online ordering and GVSU Choose in place,” Nickels said. “However, if we receive 500 orders per night and we know that we can reasonably expect to process only 200 orders per day, we have to make the tough decision to shut down both systems.” Nickels said winners were chosen randomly based on online textbook orders to the bookstore that were received before Aug. 11.

“The contest is designed to encourage students to order their books early in the summer so that we have adequate time for processing fall textbook orders,” Nickels said. Though students weren’t able to place online orders through the bookstore or view other online options through GVSU Choose, they were still able to lookup which textbooks they needed for class.

“Although it pains us to shut down GVSU Choose and online ordering, if we can’t offer our customers a high level of service, we prefer not to offer the service at all,” Nickels said. “Both space and human resources are considerations when it comes to leaving website ordering active for a longer period. We hope that once we are in the new store, we will be able to process more orders faster and perhaps keep online ordering and GVSU Choose active throughout the semester.”

The new University Bookstore, which will be housed in the Marketplace Building, is scheduled to open spring of 2015 and will have a larger sales floor than the current store.

“The new store will more than double our current sales floor and will allow us to significantly increase the products and services we are able to offer our students,” Nickels said. “In addition to being more spacious and comfortable, the new store should be a very exciting destination for students through its innovative design, interactive shopping elements and increased product lines, including an expanded technology store and custom imprinting.”