Campus app stores reinventing college retail business
- A mobile phone can now serve as a campus identification card, a bank card for meals and bookstore items, and a ticket to athletic events, all thanks to a rise in colleges developing app stores for various on-campus retail and access needs.
- Schools like the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh are among the trendsetters in this personal tech movement, developing new strategies for food service around remote ordering and pick-up functions, along with managing meal plan balances — and officials say the access induces students to spend more on food service than they would making in-person purchases.
- Tech vendors say that the first step in developing app suites for campus services is to determine which functions are most likely to be used and valued by students, and to allow students to drive the conversation about their needs.
The key element in this realm of tech development is allowing students to dictate which services are best for them. Often campus business officers roll out technologies that do not meet demand, or frustrate students because they may not easily talk to other systems on campus like security checkpoints or food service technologies.
The strategy is to survey students for which services they would like to see linked to their devices, and to work with existing vendors to thoroughly examine if and how new mobile apps can be developed to meet the demand. And if areas like food service and box offices can be enhanced, could the same be developed for the bursar, or records and registration? If these services are available, it could wind up creating big cost savings on campus in personnel and space reallocation.
- University Business College campus retail goes mobile