Souvenir Shop, the Face of the University
Souvenir Shop, the Face of the University
  • Reporter Jung Han-kyu
  • 승인 2011.03.23 20:35
  • 댓글 0
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Could be a great tool for university publicity

▲ The souvenir shop at POSTECH

As a Postechian, it is very natural to boast of POSTECH, especially now that it is officially one of the top universities in the world. It is also very natural to wish to own something ‘POSTECHish’. However, many become disappointed after having seen the items that are displayed at the souvenir shop. The Postech Times wants to view this in as many perspectives as possible and hopefully identify the cause of such a regrettable situation.

To find out the general opinion about the souvenir shop, The Postech Times conducted a school-wide survey. A total of 3 professors, 28 staff members, 58 graduates, and 141 undergraduates have responded, and only 8 of them said that they know nothing about the souvenir shop, which indicates that the low purchase rate is caused by other factors. Of those who responded, 47% answered they have never bought a souvenir from the shop, and 89% said that they either feel no desire or are indifferent about buying souvenirs when they look at the display.

▲ Responses to the survey to the question whether students want to buy the souvenirs at the shop

Many gave us reasons that keep the customers from purchasing goods, and the dominating responses were the poor location and size of the souvenir shop, outdated designs, and unreasonable prices of the goods. Especially with the design, some responders were disappointed at the lack of a distinct representation of school and usefulness of the souvenirs. In addition, some said that the old-fashioned design even took away the desire to use the souvenirs when they received them as gifts.

While such complaints are prevalent, the Welfare Facilities and the souvenir shop has not sat back and just ignored them; they just have not been able to come up with an effective solution. They both consider the souvenir shop as a major means of school publicity. However, they have a hard time in bringing high-quality souvenirs to the shop due to the small size of POSTECH. Manufacturers only supply items in bulk, but POSTECH’s demand is lower than the minimum number of goods set by the manufacturers. If POSTECH orders a smaller number of souvenirs, the unit price goes up inevitably.

The manager of the souvenir shop, Park Myung-jea, pleaded his hardship that people seem not to trust the souvenir shop and use “the Internet to order T-shirts or souvenirs for department events.” He also added that “we always have leftovers in stock, but new products keep coming in with new designs, and we can’t sell outdated goods.”

This is a consequence of POSTECH’s chronic lack of communication between parties. In the customers’ position, they should use the souvenir shop more often. If not, at least they should make large orders for goods such as department T-shirts through the shop because the souvenir shop guarantees the lower unit price than those in the market. In order for this to happen, the souvenir shop has to improve its strategies. Customers will not buy souvenirs if the goods do not reach a certain standard. The souvenir shop must conduct market research to find out what the customers want and provide them with high-quality and useful goods even if the price may go up a little bit. If both parties maintain passive positions, nothing could get better.

Benchmarking advanced systems in other countries could be a good idea as well. The Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA made a deal with the bookstore Barnes & Noble. It is very professional and provides the latest designed clothes for all four seasons. It also acts as a regular bookstore, textbook store, and even offers supplies for school and dorms. The price is indeed higher, but the students receive discounts. The students could buy what they really need at one stop, and the visitors could purchase goods after a school tour.

▲ Picture of Barnes & Noble at Georgia Tech. Various souvenirs are displayed.

Of course, the exact same setting cannot be applied to POSTECH, but the idea is that the seller has to provide products that induce the customers to buy. It would increase school spirit and the POSTECH could expect efficient school publicity.