Many college students are shopping at mainstream retailers with mobile apps and they’d like to use similar apps at their campus bookstore, according to a September 2016 student survey conducted by NACS OnCampus Research. However, they’re not as familiar with other shopping aids, such as chatbots and online check-in.
In the 90 days prior to the survey, 34% of students had used a store app and cited mobile coupons, ease of use, and quick loading as the aspects they liked most. Students also appreciated being able to determine whether certain items were in stock and to read product reviews.
Two-thirds expressed interest in an app offered by their campus bookstore, especially if they received a discount for downloading the app, earned instant coupons when they entered the store, or had the ability to check on prices for selling back used textbooks.
Only 3% of students had taken advantage of a chatbot to interact with a store online in real time while 11% had used chatbots in other circumstances. Stores that offer this feature need to promote it, as more than 60% of students confessed they didn’t know what a chatbot was.
Students had more experience with online check-in, which provides a text message or other notification to alert customers when it’s their turn for service, instead of waiting in a physical line. About 23% had used online check-in while 42% indicated interest in trying it out.