School stores are big business. In fact, according to the National Association of College Stores, store revenue reached $10.3 billion during the 2015-2016 academic year. This figure itself is impressive. However, it doesn’t explain why it’s important for stores to focus on apparel decoration for colleges and universities.
In the last decade, about 2 million students enrolled in higher education institutions across the country. Despite the increase, school store sales remained at the $10 billion mark over the same amount of time. One of the biggest challenges for school stores today is that textbooks are no longer the high-margin items they once were. Today, students use digital solutions, such as eBooks and online learning portals. More than that, if they must use a print textbook, most students rent or share with other students. Or they buy books online. As a result, school stores must refocus if they want to maintain a healthy bottom line.
Whether an Ivy League school or a small community college, a school store should focus on growing their product offerings. Adding custom embroidered patches to apparel increases the value of products without adding a lot of costs. Custom embroidered patches can be sewn on or heat sealed to almost any garment. Here are several examples of how these patches work effectively for a school store.
Apparel Decoration For Colleges and Universities
- Special Occasions and Events. Adding decorations to promote special occasions and events is a great way to increase sales. These events include class reunions, athletic championships, concerts, friends and family weekends, graduation, awards ceremonies, and more. College events attract students as well as their guests. Adding a patch to a sweatshirt, jacket, hat, or duffel bag is an easy way to boost sales online and in store.
- Celebrate Student Organizations and Life. College students participate in a number of different on-campus clubs, groups, and organizations. Whether the organization is Student Government, Chorus, or a fraternity, school stores can sell apparel with their own emblem or logo.
- Sports Apparel. Large universities have no problem selling apparel to promote their Division I sports teams. However, what about smaller schools that are more known for their academics than sports teams? Use patches on apparel items like team uniforms, coach’s gear, sweatpants, and athletic gear. This is a great way to build a team’s profile. Of course, team success moves merchandise, but a great design monetizes athletic apparel, regardless of wins or losses.
- Alumni Apparel. In addition to the student body, school stores reach different audiences, including faculty, coaches, family and friends, and alumni. School stores can capitalize on designing alumni-specific apparel with custom-embroidered patches. College alumni members will proudly sport their collegiate gear and clothing well into their adult lives. Many alumni spread across the country and even the globe. Therefore, school stores should consider promoting their online store and including a link to their online storefront in the alumni newsletter. This not only helps increase awareness for the school store, but it can also help accelerate sales on alumni merchandise and apparel.
- Adhesive Accessories. Custom patches can also be used on many other accessories. Some patches can also be designed with adhesive backings to stick on pennants, schools supplies, and those must-have dorm decorations.
- Loose Patches. College students are creative cauldrons, so why limit the use of patches to the store’s ideas? Selling loose patches allows students to display their school pride wherever and however they would like.
From College Student to Loyal Customer
Of course, colleges and universities have many revenue channels that extend beyond tuition. The school store is a great way for a college to boost revenue while keeping costs down. School stores can do their part and increase sales by focusing on designing apparel and accessories. In all, by offering high-quality, beautifully-designed products, apparel, and accessories, school stores can turn students into loyal customers long after graduation.
World Emblem is an industry leader in providing these solutions. Our team is experienced in apparel decoration for colleges and universities. We are available to help businesses and institutions add value to their apparel and products. Learn how to create custom embroidered patches for your school store with World Emblem.