Case Study: Brown University

The expense of upgrading to a new system can seem unnecessary; but, as Brown University Bookstore realized, not taking advantage of the newest technology can be even more costly. After installing the MBS POS, the store has benefited from decreased transaction times, more efficient service and the peace of mind that comes from tokenization, making the transition worth every penny.

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The MBS POS Makes Upgrading an Easy Decision

Change is never easy, and it almost always comes at a cost, whether it be financial, physical, or both. And those effects are only amplified when the change pertains to something as integral to your store as a retail management system. For that reason, many college stores are hesitant to even explore the option of upgrading.

Brown University Bookstore felt that way for several years. They'd opted not to upgrade to the MBS POS, assuming it was an unnecessary hassle. But the staff began noticing subtle issues that made them start to rethink the decision.

"As it stood, our MBS 4690 system was almost 13 years old and it became apparent that it lacked some of the features our customers were looking for," explained Steve Souza, director.

"Understandably, because MBS had a new version of the POS, their development for our system was diminishing, so I knew there was no easy fix in sight."

Reaching an impasse

The tipping point for Souza came during his store's PCI compliance assessment. Although he invested an enormous amount of time in the task, he found himself struggling to attain compliance. He knew that tokenization, which was available through the MBS POS, would drastically minimize the scope of their PCI compliance issue by offering the highest transaction security available, a fact that strongly influenced his ultimate decision.

"It became clear that upgrading was unequivocally the right thing to do," he described. "We had already waited way too long; it was time."

Fast transaction speeds

One benefit the store immediately noticed was the speed of credit card processing.

"Watching the transaction queue up and process on the old system only took about 6-8 seconds, but when you have a long line that can seem like eternity," he explained. "Now, you'd be hard pressed to find another system that approves credit cards as quickly as the MBS POS. It's less than two seconds which is almost instantaneous!"

I only wish we'd done it sooner ... I would definitely recommend it.

— Steve Souza

In today's competitive marketplace, Souza knows that customer experience is essential to both winning and maintaining in-store business. With the MBS POS, he's no longer worried about how his customers will perceive the service his store provides.

"Students want to get in and out quickly, so convenience is just as important as having good prices," he added. "With our system, we can cashier them just as quickly, efficiently and professionally as any other major retailer; it has been enormously advantageous."

Trial by fire on record-setting sales day

The store's first real test of the system came during their commencement weekend. The event also serves as a time to invite alumni back to campus, creating a large crowd in the store. Although they always do well on the eventful weekend, this year was one for the books; the store set a record in both volume of sales and dollars spent that day.

"Part of that can be attributed to how quickly we were able to move people through the checkout process," Souza said. "Despite the crowd, we managed to avoid long lines, as well. The system ran perfectly through an intense selling period and that bodes well for how it will do during rush in the fall."

The ultimate peace of mind

Souza can also rest at ease knowing that his store now offers the highest transaction security available.

"I sleep better at night knowing that it's in place," he described. "When you look at the cost of having a secure system versus the cost of a data breach, the decision to upgrade becomes unequivocally clear. Even though a breach isn't likely, it wasn't a risk I was willing to take."

Reaching a worldwide audience

The advanced features available through the MBS POS have also opened up new avenues for Brown University Bookstore to earn revenue. With the MBS POS, they can now easily accept and store a securing credit card as well as offer non-serialized rentals, opening up rental to a much broader audience.

Previously, the store, who acts as a textbooks supplier for students at the neighboring Rhode Island School of Design, was unable to extend the benefits of rental to all students. RISD students have been limited to a "guaranteed buyback" version of rental as their student accounts were not accessible to the store for billing. Now, thanks to their upgraded system, that will no longer the case.

"We've definitely seen sales increase since partnering with RISD, but I think as we go forward, non-serialized rentals are where we will see the real gain," he explained. "They should really expand our business with both student bases, and we're looking forward to the new opportunity afforded to us by the MBS POS."

A positive assessment for the MBS POS

The combination of convenient service, security and new features available through the MBS POS has convinced Souza that upgrading was undoubtedly the right decision. In fact, he only has one regret.

"I only wish we'd done it sooner. If you can put the money together to upgrade, I would definitely recommend it," he emphasized. "It's a huge advantage as a retailer to have that technology in place. The system has been running wonderfully, and I'm very pleased with it."

About Brown University:

  • FTE: More than 18,000 full and part-time students
  • Program scope: Campuses or class buildings in four cities and two online programs
  • Exponentially increased its rental offerings with the switch to MBS System

About MBS POS:

  • User-friendly interface of MBS POS allows for smooth transitioning
  • Dedicated client representative on hand
  • MBS Rental allows stores to rent without serializing inventory, eliminates the needs for separate return lines at buyback with "Rent at POS" feature
  • MBS Systems inSite module allows stores to add live merchandise to their site easily