SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 12, 2012) - Rafter™, the leader in Course Materials Management, today expanded its Rafter Course Materials Network to better serve students and increase campus store market share with the release of Rafter Price IQ™, Rafter RapidCheckout™ for Mobile, and its point-of-sale (POS) integration with partner Sequoia Retail Systems.
Rafter's fall additions to its industry-leading Course Materials Network address key challenges facing college stores and helps them better serve their students with powerful new retail, analytics and management features. Now students can pay for rentals with financial aid and checkout on a mobile device without waiting in line. Rafter also now arms stores with advanced pricing analytics to increase their margins while ensuring that their students get the best prices.
"Students want to shop at their campus store, but high prices often push them elsewhere. Now we're arming stores with the latest retail tools -- not only to create a delightful in-store experience, but also to help them increase their market share," said Mehdi Maghsoodnia, CEO of Rafter. "With this release, we're making our solution even more powerful and effective for campus stores to provide students with the best prices, service, and selection."
Rafter Price IQ: The Ultimate Pricing Machine
Many students compare campus store prices to those found online -- so store managers need to monitor their prices in real time to successfully compete. Rafter Price IQ helps store managers adjust their prices in real-time to be more competitive without sacrificing overall margin.
Powered by technology from cloud-based education company HubEdu, which Rafter acquired in late June, Price IQ analyzes inventory and recommends adjustments for overpriced and underpriced items relative to online marketplaces. A visual dashboard instantly shows how store competitiveness changes as prices are adjusted. Using Rafter Price IQ, stores can maximize inventory value and maintain strong margins, while offering great value to students.
Rafter Price IQ will be available July 30, 2012 on an annual fee basis. It will be free for stores on the Rafter Network through December 31, 2013. Campus stores not yet on the Rafter Network can sign up for Price IQ by September 30, 2012 for free use through December 31, 2013.
RapidCheckout for Mobile: Win Back Students With Convenience and Cool Technology
Long checkout lines on the busiest days can frustrate students, driving them to purchase their materials elsewhere. Rafter's RapidCheckout for Mobile, based on the same innovation used in Apple retail stores, is a mobile cash register that lets campus store staff rent textbooks anywhere WiFi is available on campus just by scanning the book barcode and swiping a credit card. Not only does this minimize checkout lines, RapidCheckout for Mobile makes checkout faster and improves students' perception of their campus store. Because transactions are processed real-time in the cloud, sales and reporting are made available instantly in the Rafter Store Manager Portal.
RapidCheckout for Mobile will be available on July 30, 2012.
Sequoia POS Integration: In-Store Rentals Just Got Easier
As part of this product release, Rafter also announced a partnership with Sequoia Retail Systems, a leading provider of POS, inventory control, mobility, and e-commerce solutions for higher education institutions. The new product integrates Rafter and Sequoia to provide a comprehensive store management solution. Benefits of the Sequoia integration include:
- Automated Setup: Sequoia software automatically updates the Rafter Store Manager Portal with course adoption information and inventory data to determine the best pricing and rental options. In turn, Rafter sends a rental list directly to the Sequoia software without the hassle of manual uploads, saving staff members' time and eliminating mistakes.
- Single Line Checkout: Now, Sequoia cash registers support rentals enabled by Rafter. Cash register support enables all forms of tender allowed within the store, including student financial aid, cash, campus cards and credit cards, as acceptable payments for rental titles. Rentals may be combined with all other merchandise in a single transaction, simplifying the checkout process for staff while providing more flexibility and streamlining inventory management.
- Automated Settlement: Real-time Sequoia system updates and comprehensive rental reporting provide managers on-demand rental sales data. Inventory and bookkeeping entries are automated ensuring the integrity of stock ledger, register reconciliation, and sales audit data. Funds are transferred to the campus store daily -- an industry first -- reducing payment times from several months in some cases, to just one day.
The Rafter Sequoia POS Integration is available now.
Comments on the News:
"Rafter has been at the forefront of the textbook rental explosion and working with them has been a win - win - win," said Jim Zaorski, CEO of Sequoia Retail Systems. "Our college store customers have regained market share and students have found in-store rental as a way to get their books fast and save money. Rafter quickly and effectively combined its rental technology and supply chain management capabilities with Sequoia's eCommerce, retail, and transaction processing offerings. The result is a greatly streamlined in-store rental program that helps college stores maximize their price competitiveness."
"We just started using the pricing analytics piece, Rafter Price IQ, and I'm excited about making my store more competitive while being able to make instant, informed decisions about my bottom line," said Kerri Kirk, bookstore director at Everett Community College in Washington. "I can adjust my overpriced and underpriced books, while tracking the impact on my overall profit margin, all at the same time. I don't have to worry anymore about pricing myself out of business just to stay competitive."
"Our staff LOVE Rafter's mobile checkout registers," said Peg Godwin, general manager of Western Washington University Bookstore. "The best part is, students love it and see us as having the latest and greatest technology."
"We've worked with Rafter from the beginning and have reversed our market share trend, increasing it by 12 percent," said Jared Ceja, director of auxiliary service at Chaffey College. "For this fall peak the Rafter Sequoia POS Integration is a massive time-saver. We are streamlining checkout, inventory updates, and even payment reconciliation. My whole team is loving it!"
For more information, visit www.rafter.com.
Rafter is an education technology company and the leader in course materials management. The Rafter Course Materials Network™ is a cloud-based software suite that enables schools to significantly improve the affordability, effectiveness and accessibility of their educational materials. The Rafter Network leverages the latest technology to connect students, educators, administrators and content providers -- changing the course content experience from a burden to a rewarding process for all constituents. Rafter partners directly with hundreds of schools to improve the educational experience for students. Rafter owns and operates BookRenter.com, a destination site for students to rent and buy textbooks at up to 80 percent off. To date, Rafter has saved millions of students more than $185 million and counting. Rafter, headquartered in San Mateo, CA, is a privately held company. To learn more visit www.rafter.com.