Whether your campus prefers quarters, semesters or trimesters, Rush is a-coming. You have a million things to think about, so we put together this list of 7 things that you might forget. They're all easy to check, and you can do most of them with half a sandwich in one hand. Ready, go!
Here's the list. Click any of these to skip ahead:
- Check your Control Dates
- Update your Communications Settings
- Run Price Insights, then Adjust Prices to get Market Competitive
- Get Affiliate Commissions: Turn on Vendors.
- Confirm Bookstore Digital is working (if you have it).
- Is your POS set up for Out of Stock Sales?
- During Rush -- check that Stats page!
1. Check your Control Dates
If you don't visit this page often, don't worry. It's not very exciting. But it's powerful! This page controls when students and faculty can see a term in Hero, when your bookstore's pricing displays, and whether you want to track adoptions submitted late. There's even a section where you can explain to your students that you have a couple books on order, so some things might not be in stock yet.
2. Update your Communication Settings
This is a great part of Hero. A lot of the settings have to do with emails, and a lot of the emails have to do with adoptions, but there are three settings that you'll want handy as you enter Rush.
First, make sure the Contact Us link heads right to your bookstore. You can send them to a specific page on your website (https://www.bookstore.edu/contact) or put in a mailto: link that will open their default email program for them.
Second, there are two banners down at the bottom of the page you'll want to look at.
You can choose to Display a message banner to students on the Courses page for a lot of reasons. Maybe there's a sale in the bookstore that everyone should know about. Maybe you haven't turned on bookstore pricing yet because your books are on a truck -- but you know when the truck's going to get here. Maybe you just want to say hi. This is your space; use it if you want it!
You can also choose to Display a custom message to students not enrolled for any courses. If your students use Single Sign On (SSO) to access Hero, then all their courses pull up for them just like magic. If your students don't use SSO, then they might need to create their own booklist, just like a different, more pedestrian sort of magic.
By default, that message banner looks like this:
If you want to change it, though, you can!
3. Run Price Insights!
We created the Price Insights page so you could compare your store's pricing with the market value of those same books. Your students are absolutely going to compare your store's prices with Amazon's, so it make sense to do the same thing first. That way, whether you want to price yourself at, above or below the market, you'll know exactly what you're doing.
Price Insights will give you a neat overview of your whole term, and...
...an ISBN-by-ISBN comparison of the same thing. You can sort the columns here, or download the report as a spreadsheet, and then slice and dice it anyway you need to.
Pro-Tip: If all this is overwhelming or if your lunch break is only 5 minutes, try sorting these columns by price to see if you have any books selling for $0.00.
Unless you're just an exceptionally generous person, there will probably be very few ISBNs without a price. But it never hurts to check! Fix these at least and you'll be good to go.
4. Stack the deck your way: turn on your Vendors
While we're talking about Vendors, Hero has an ever increasing list of them on your Vendors page. Everyone's on there, from publishers to small-time marketplaces to Amazon itself. Every vendor on that list is another tool that your students can use to find the right content at the best price, and every vendor comes with a commission payment for any business you send their way.
We've talked about this before, of course. Studies show that your students spend hours (literally) every term comparing the price of content, and going without it if the price is too high. This is actually a great opportunity for you to be the (ahem) Hero. Your students are looking for a way to compare prices; enabling Vendors in your store puts that information in one place for them. And it trains them to go to the place where your price is prominently displayed. And you get a commission on every sale that comes through.
5. Make sure your White Label Site is Working (if you have one)
Digital textbook providers like RedShelf can show up as a vendor in your Vendors page, of course. They can also become a white label provider for you. If this happens, students don't see the name "RedShelf" anywhere, which is good. If a book has a digital version available, they'll see that price as an offering from your store, which is better.
The commission structure works a bit differently for white label sites than it does for straight affiliate commissions, so you'll want to talk to RedShelf directly, or us, if you have any questions about setting this up. Short version, though: a white label site puts your store on the price comparison list twice, and offers more choices to your students.
To check if it's working, pull up a booklist with a book that you know has a price from your white label site. If you don't know a book that fits this description, grab some freshman level classes -- ISBNs that are more common are more likely to have a digital version. Click the Buy button and confirm that you shoot over to RedShelf to complete your purchase.
6. Do you want to enable out-of-stock sales?
This tip will look different depending on what point-of-sale platform you use. And in certain cases it might not be relevant. In certain integrations (hi, PrismCore users!) a store can log in to their POS and tell it to either stop selling when they run out of inventory, or to keep right on going. There's no universal answer here; a lot depends on how your store likes to run things. But if you forget to check this setting and either lose a thousand sales or get a thousand orders for books you don't have, it could be bad.
So just give it a peek.
7. Check that Stats Page!
And finally, something fun. Hero has a Stats page for you, where you can of course check in your your Adoption Data per term.
But below the fold, you can--you might already know this--also see Engagement Data for any date range in your term. This is an excellent place to see what sorts of people are wandering around Hero with you...
...and where they're spending their money.
If you're old enough to remember the days when you had to wait overnight to see sales data, then this should make you happy. Forget overnight; this data updates every time you refresh the page.
It also lets you grab anyone who will listen and show them exactly how Rush is going for your store, and for your campus. We've designed every statistic on this page so that it tells a story. So pull people into your cushy corner office and tell it to them (If you don't have a cushy corner office, find the office of someone who does and offer to set up shop. Successful people always enjoy data.).
Rush always seems to hit like a ton of bricks. But unlike a ton of bricks, it can be pretty fun if you're ready for it. This is the time of year when your store shines. And hopefully this list gets you shiny.