Transitioning to an online bookstore is a big deal for any school thinking about making a switch. While you know it's designed to be more convenient and cost-effective for everyone, it is still going to be a significant change for your school. That means there are some questions you are going to want to ask yourself to make sure that the choice you're making is going to be the right one. Here are a few you might want to consider:
1. What will happen to my current bookstore employees?
One of the biggest fears for schools going online is thinking that their bookstore employees will be rendered unnecessary. So whether you want them focus more time on previously held responsibilites or if they're going to be spending their time doing something totally new, you'll want to have a plan in place before making your final decision.
2. What are we going to do with our bookstore space?
Unlike those employees, an online bookstore does eliminate the need for a physical bookstore. All of your inventory and shipping needs will be handled by your new provider. Fortunately, there are a lot of options for your bookstore's space, so you should be able to find a solution that's right for your school.
3. Are my students, parents and faculty prepared for this transition?
Although it seems like everyone lives their lives at least partially online these days, some people might be hesitant to change the way they shop or perform back-office tasks. When confronting these hesitations, you'll want to lay out and make clear the convenience and ease that an online bookstore is able to provide for everyone involved.
4. How much will the school be saving?
This is sure to be one of the first things any administrator would think about in such a situation, but it bears repeating. Not only is it important to ensure an online bookstore would not harm your budget, but you will probably want to have a plan in place for how you want to allocate those savings to improve your school.
5. How much will students/families be saving?
This is a common reason for schools to choose an online bookstore in the first place, so you'll want to make sure you're getting what you're promised. If you don't, you know you can expect to hear about it from a handful of aggrieved students or parents that will question why any change was made if that change did not lessen their spending.
6. How much control will we have over this online store?
Though you are sure to give up some amount of control by partnering with an online bookstore provider, retaining the ability to make some of your own decisions is crucial to a successful transition. By keeping some amount of control, you'll be able to better serve as a communication point between your students/families and your provider, if nothing else.