Tuesday marked the kick-off of the 20th annual D&H Back-to-School Show! According to Larry Staub, of D&H, ICBA members represent a significant portion of D&H’s education business, which made D&H the perfect host for the 2nd annual ICBA Buyer Breakout Session yesterday. Jon Bibo, Paula Haerr, and Marc Smith led the discussion with a review of ICBA’s strategies regarding the growth of both product- and service-based programs.

D&H shared a market segment analysis that compared the college channel to D&H’s other retail channels. While some segment differentiation can be explained by the college channel demographic (college students don’t have a large interest in connected home technology), Larry identified some opportunities that currently are untapped within our channel. D&H has agreed to share these market data with ICBA members on a quarterly basis.

During the open forum networking discussion, ICBA members enthusiastically shared thoughts on the greatest challenges faced within their tech departments. Nearly all agreed that there are challenges, but also opportunities, in connecting with parents and families during orientation tours, including:

  • Parent/family lounges
  • Voucher gift cards
  • Freebies
  • Bundled warranty services
  • Orientation leaders/guides

The pain point of on-line competition is being combatted by some stores through better store staff training, expanded product assortments of the “latest / greatest,” and free delivery to campus departments.

ICBA members shared a number of marketing ideas, all intended to create a fun and inviting atmosphere and show the value of the store.

These ideas included:

  • Designated days where pets are welcome in the store for photo ops
  • Free ice cream for orientation visitors
  • Store apps to replace obsolete paper packets previously distributed at orientation
  • Free birthday gifts for email captures in the tech department
ICBA at D&H Show

From Left: Larry Staub (D&H), with Jon Bibo, Paula Haerr, and Marc Smith of ICBA

That’s a wrap on day 1 of the conference!

Stay tuned as Jon, Marc, and Paula hit the round robin sessions with nearly 50 tech vendors on Thursday. We’ll report on the products getting the buzz!