A school of about 5,000 students located in central Alabama, Auburn University – Montgomery may not be as famous as its sister school from which it draws its name, but AUM has a rich history in its own right. Founded in 1967, the university has evolved from a small 600 student campus into the continually growing enrollment that they are currently experiencing.
That evolution has found its way past academics and into the university’s bookstore, currently manifesting itself in a couple of different ways. First, and most noticeably, is the name change of the bookstore itself. What was until about a month ago the AUM Bookstore has now been rebranded as The Warhawk Shop, named after the school’s mascot. “We were trying to get away from the term ‘bookstore,’” said Warhawk Shop director Jeffrey Vinzant, lamenting the fact that that term has become somewhat pejorative in recent years. “We’re also revamping our website to make sure everything says Warhawk Shop,” Vinzant added.
The other major change is the Warhawk Shop’s new way of providing digital course materials to their students, as they have chosen to implement an online bookstore through MBS Direct. The reasons behind this choice was the breadth of digital content options and the ease with which AUM students could use the online bookstore. “We were looking to get more technology, especially digital,” Vinzant said. “There’s been a lot of people asking for digital and we’re providing it for them.”
The Warhawk Shop had traditionally provided a wide variety of just about everything else in-store, but the demand combined with the opportunity to provide their student customers a new purchasing option made the choice to adopt more digital options within the online bookstore an easy one. In the past, Vinzant and his staff had provided new books, used books, and even ran their own rental program in the bookstore.
And although Vinzant is excited about the opportunity to offer digital options online, he’s confident that the physical store’s business won’t change significantly. “I’ve been hearing that print books are going to be gone since 1996, and I still have a store full of books. But I am still very interested to see where the digital process goes,” he said.
Vinzant and his staff are excited to give their students just about all of the purchasing options that they could possibly want and they are committed to continuing to provide quality service to everyone that sets foot in the newly minted Warhawk Shop. As Vinzant said, “Customer service is still the foundation of our business.”