The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grow Custom Campaign and Initial Sponsors Announced

At NMS we have often in the past spoken about shifting store focus from "margins" to "market share" in recognition that our business environment and core product are changing.  A common question has been, "Well, how do we do that?"  

In response, starting this month and going through the coming year we will be focusing on a Grow Custom, Grow Green  initiative.   Through blog postings here, a range of activities at CAMEX later this month, subsequent webinars, articles, and other communications, NMS will be encouraging stores to explore options to grow the volume of custom course materials and other custom product sold through campus stores.

To be clear, we are not talking about "dumb custom" here, which traditional has been viewed as a poor product, and justifiably so. For more on smart versus dumb custom, please read our prior post on that topic from a couple weeks ago.

The Grow Custom initiative is about growing good value, good products, and good business.

We know that many stores have traditionally resisted custom course materials for a range of reasons.  Today's (and tomorrow's) custom is not what it once was.  The data we are observing suggests that the custom movement, whether stores choose to participate or not, will be larger than the recent shift to rental -- a model which transformed some aspects of the North American college store industry over the past two years.  Stores that forgo engaging in growing custom will see further market share reduction.  Stores cannot pass on this opportunity to help students acquire the "just what you need to succeed" course materials for the classroom.  The future of custom is not just a "win-win" for stores and their communities, but a "win, win, win."

We are NOT alone.
The good news is that there are many companies and organizations -- both old and new to our industry -- which can help stores be more successful with growing custom.  Even better, they recognize the value of the college store in the custom equation. 

NMS is excited to announce our first TEN sponsor partners of the Grow Custom initiative.  At CAMEX they will be highlighting their solutions and NMS will be coordinating a range of activities to give stores exposure to what is happening in the custom space.  We will soon be providing links to additional information about each of these sponsors and will provide additional information through the NMS website.  We strongly encourage you to take the time to attend product spotlights, visit booths, watch demos, and talk with these organizations about what they are doing in the custom space. 

Our initial 10 sponsors include the following organizations:

We thank these sponsors of the Grow Custom initiative.  At CAMEX and in the coming weeks be prepared to hear more about the Grow Custom initiative and these organizations.  Watch for more information throughout this month and 2012.  Be sure to check out our sponsors of this initiative at a later date, and view the NMS Grow Custom information page often as information about our sponsors and other opportunities or resources will be added regularly.  You can also complete an Interest in Participation Form to learn more about this or other current NMS initiatives.

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