Colgate Bookstore Revitalizes Customer Experience


The Colgate Bookstore recently announced changes, both online and in store, coming throughout the spring of 2016.

The Colgate Bookstore is seeking to modernize various aspects of the store’s physical layout, as well as its online presence. Various changes will be integrated throughout the spring semester and the Bookstore will remain open during this renovation process.

Director of Off-Campus Retail Operations Leslie Pasco detailed several different programs the Colgate Bookstore is implementing. One of these is the Balance Health and Wellness Savings Club, which was created four months ago. The goal of the Balance Club is to encourage students to adopt healthy living practices. Pasco explained the membership process, as well as benefits available to students who join the program.

“Anybody who joins the program can get the card membership from the Trudy Fitness Center for 15 percent off any [Balance Club collection] item, any day. It’s part of our non-insignia ‘Athleisure’ collection … It’s a concept about going to the gym and then maybe going to Saxby’s for coffee and still looking stylish in really functional, high-performance wear,” Pasco said.

In January, the second floor of the Bookstore was reorganized by vendors including Nike, Under Armour and Champion to design brand-name concept shops. Colgate University was one of 10 schools chosen to participate in this program.

“[The vendors] came in and swapped out a lot of our fixtures, they gave us signage, they installed a lot of [brand] wraps to really create the idea of concept shops to highlight the brand, to make it easier to shop and to make it easier to differentiate between men’s and women’s clothing,” Pasco said. “Some of the changes that we embraced with them was really taking a look at how we are merchandizing our brands.”

The Bookstore is attempting to make the most of the concept shop layout, and will bring in new

merchandise to reflect these changes.

Another feature of the Bookstore’s second floor is the Greek shop, which was created within the last year. Pasco explained the work that was done to incorporate this into the second floor’s various concept shops.

“We’ve been working very hard with the different sororities and fraternities … We met with all of the [Greek] organizations and their fashion chairs and tried to understand what it is the organizations wanted. We’re the only place that Colgate students can actually buy Greek-life merchandise in real-time, and not by going online and ordering [these items],” Pasco said.

Sophomore Kappa Kappa Gamma fashion chair Emma Brandhorst explained Kappa’s choice to work independently from the Bookstore, regarding clothing and merchandise orders.

“We prefer to work separately so the spring orders and the options available at the Bookstore include different styles and increase variety,” Brandhorst said.

Starting in the next couple of weeks, the technology section of the Bookstore will undergo a significant transformation. Pasco spoke to the reason for revitalizing the Bookstore’s technology section.

“Our next project is really to bring more life and attention to the tech area. We already have things like the GoPro and the Fitbit, and we will be getting droids coming in soon. Students may not think of us as a very competitive place that offers tech-savvy gadgets, but we absolutely have those,” Pasco said.

The changes are expected to begin mid-March, and will likely be completed in May.

In addition to these physical changes and merchandise offerings, Pasco and other staff at the Bookstore have sought to enhance students’ book buying experience. Recently, the Bookstore began using Verba Software, which is a competitive tool that allows campus stores to compare their prices with other textbook vendors.

“We want to be able to let students know that we are competitive, and that we have the ability to adjust the pricing down, and we do. We become as competitive as we possibly can and we have the books in stock,” Pasco said.

The Bookstore’s Senior Textbook Buyer Molly Ogden also discussed the initiative to become a competitive option for textbook purchases.

“We’re trying to make sure that we have the best market price,” Ogden said. “We’re trying to make sure that our prices are in line with market value.”

Even though the Bookstore is taking steps to ease the book-buying process, some students remain unsatisfied with buyback policies.

“The prices of books are still much higher than other vendors and their buyback program doesn’t usually pay off in regards to textbooks,” sophomore Sydney Block said.

Ultimately, the recent changes to the Colgate Bookstore are efforts to increase community and student support.

“We continue to be one of Central New York’s largest independent bookstores. We have over 20,000 titles and we are the only independent bookstore within a 40-mile radius. We continue to be really proud of that, as well as to leverage the support from the university, our faculty, staff, students and, of course, our community members,” Pasco said.