The Dynamic Duo
The VolShop at University of Tennessee, Knoxville
At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Betty Phillips and Shirley Streeter run the VolShop’s textbook command center in tandem. Sitting on the other side of Fall 2014 rush, they’re all smiles.
We had one of the best fall rushes we have had in a long, long time and I’ve been working at this bookstore for 17 years.
Streeter and Phillips utilize all three components of the Verba suite: Collect, Compete, and Compare. They are fiercely focused on bringing sales back to the bookstore.
This year their efforts began by rallying faculty to get adoptions in early through Collect. With adoptions rolling in, they kept a watchful eye on the used book marketplace and sourced aggressively through Verba’s new Full-Service Sourcing Module.
This past spring was the first time the dynamic duo really took to sourcing and their results speak for themselves: The VolShop saved nearly $300,000 by obtaining low-cost inventory from the marketplace.
Buyback offered another opportunity to cut costs, and Phillips and Streeter jumped into Verba’s Dynamic Buyback module with both feet. As Streeter says, “Having the ability to see what the market is doing and then adjusting our prices accordingly has given us a lot more titles and we have less money invested in them.”
“The cost control translates directly into savings,” Streeter explains. “When we plug those books back in for the next term our cost is lower and we can sell those books at a lower price to the students. [The Verba buyback module] is a very important part of being able to offer affordable, competitive prices to students...I love it, love it, love it!”
While controlling costs was a top priority for the dynamic duo, they quickly realized the new Dynamic Rental module was their “ace-in-the-hole.”
Streeter and Phillips shopped their expected rental returns list to several wholesalers, then uploaded their rental rebate offers into Verba. They analyzed who offered the highest bid and used the high bid to set rental prices. “The wholesalers all know...that he who has the highest price wins our books.“
Making use of multiple wholesalers also allowed the VolShop to expand the breadth of their rental offerings. “We were able to change our rental strategy from renting a few, maybe just 10% of our titles to this year when we offered over 72% of our titles for rental,” exclaimed Phillips.
And it’s all working out just as they’d planned. As Streeter says,
The good news is that our sales were up for Fall and with the rental rebate programs we will make even more revenues from the rebates.
This past fall rush UTK won 90% of the items students purchased and they garnered 93% of all dollars that passed through their Compare interface. Both of these numbers beat the national Verba client average by nearly 10%.
“Our win rate has gotten better every term!” boasts Phillips. She attributes the growth in win rate to their increased confidence and experience in setting prices competitively.
There’s just no way to lose when you use Verba, says Streeter. You’re going to improve with every module you use. It brings savings, great benefits, it’s easy to use and the process is very good.