School store profits from collaboration

You may have come across an advertisement in which a student is holding a bottle of Gatorade, saying he purchases the beverage at the school store and asking, “Do you?” Or maybe you’ve seen an ad with attached coupons, which allow you to get a free lollipop when you buy a bag of popcorn. This is all the result of a new project that brings together the school store – run by Career and Technology Education Curriculum Coordinator Arnie Marcus – with the Psychology of Marketing class, run by business teacher Brittany Stevens.

“Mr. Marcus had asked me to try and build a bridge between my business classes and the school store,” said Stevens. “Given the school store is a store, we thought students in business classes could actually run the business and from that we’ve created this project.”

Under her direction, students worked in groups to find a way to increase the sales of their product. Together, they determined their target market, developed advertisements and other promotional strategies, made measurement plans that would show connections between marketing activities and outlined sales goals.

“My group tried to increase popcorn sales at the School Store and we made advertisements,” said senior Leila Sbi. “We posted Facebook statuses asking everyone to take our survey, which asked what we could do to improve sales and what they would like to see in the store.”

Before the advertisements were launched for popcorn, the store’s sales total was $7.00 for the product. After the advertisements were launched, the sales total rose to $10.50.

Another group worked to increase the sales of Gatorade. They targeted mainly student athletes in their ads, and they conducted surveys in order to get a better understanding about the population’s buying habits.

According to sophomore Elan Kawesch, it was crucial for his group to tailor their ads to the specific athlete demographic in order to increase Gatorade sales at the School Store.

The sales for Gatorade increased by $11.25 two days after the team’s advertisements were put up.

Even though the project was a collaboration between the school Store and the Psychology of Marketing class, the interaction between the students of both classes was minimal. According to Stevens, she and Marcus planned and collaborated. However, Marcus came to talk to the class and gave them information on prices and promotions.

“One promotion had a popcorn tab where you pull the popcorn tab and you got a free lollipop,” said Stevens. “We had to make sure that the people working at the store kept it on the side to count how many were being used and actually gave out a free lollipop.”

Stevens added that the collaboration provided her class with a unique project: one that mirrored a true business task.

“Any student in any class would enjoy having an actual realistic project to work on,” said Stevens. “Instead of something that’s more abstract, they can see and measure the authentic marketing experience.”

Jennifer Sun can be contacted at [email protected]