Retail Wrapup

Your feedback
Our opinion, it seems, is always being solicited.Whether it’s our cell phone provider requesting a moment of our time over the phone or our car dealer including a questionnaire with our 60,000 mile service invoice, customer surveys are everywhere. Even at Penn. If you’ve ever completed a survey put out by Business Services, you may have wondered (along with why you didn’t win that iPod) what, if anything, is done with the collected data. According t o Rhea Lewis, director of communications and external relations in the division, your opinion does count. Lewis gave us a quick rundown of ways campus retail has changed recently as a result of survey feedback from staff, faculty and students.

Penn Bookstore
Prompted by survey results, the Bookstore now offers alumni-oriented Tommy Hilfiger and Polo collections as well as a broader array of children’s clothing. Survey respondents also asked for lower- priced products at the Bookstore; hence the increase in special coupons for faculty, staff and students. Because survey feedback indicated that Bookstore customers rarely used the web site, this fall a new web site with more e-commerce capabilities and an enhanced user-experience will be unveiled.

Computer Connection
Survey results told Computer Connection that when it comes to purchasing technology, its customers are very brand loyal. For its 2006 Back-to- School sale, the store is showcasing products by Dell and IBM to appeal to those loyal fanbases. The Computer Connection customer survey also revealed that its customers fell into two distinct groups—those for whom price was the number one priority when buying a computer, and those who wanted specific features. The Back-to-School sale now offers a variety of desktop and laptop selections to appeal to each group, increasing the total number of systems on sale from eight to 10.

Penn Dining
Penn folks who enjoy a daily Caramel Frappuccino from the Starbucks at 1920 Commons have survey results to thank for that, too. Penn Dining survey participants asked for more national brands and that’s what they got. In addition to visiting the coffee giant, customers can also pick up their favorite Boston Market meals now at Houston Market. Penn Dining has also expanded the hours at 1920 Commons based on survey feedback. Now, in between full meal-service, you can drop by in the early afternoon for a light snack.

For all the latest campus retail news, go to www.business-services.upenn.edu/newsletter.

Originally published on September 7, 2006