Retail Reimagined case study

Triple-Digit Sales Increases: Merchandise & Promotions After Ole Miss Championship Win

Logo of The University of Mississippi

After the University of Mississippi won the 2022 College World Series, ecstatic fans were ready to celebrate. BNC had championship merchandise available to buy online in real time 鈥 and partnered with Ole Miss to keep fans fired up with a powerful promotional campaign. Sales increased in store, and online sales skyrocketed, with increases of 718% year over year for school spirit clothing and 522% for gifts and other gear.

THE OPPORTUNITY

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) baseball team has earned a spot in the NCAA Division I Men鈥檚 Baseball tournament six times over the last six decades 鈥 and in 2022, they took home the trophy for the first time. Winning the tournament, also known as the College World Series, thrilled the entire campus community and added a new chapter to the rich history of Rebel athletics.

At the same time, summer orientation was underway on campus, and new students were excited about the big win. To rev up their enthusiasm 鈥 along with current students, parents, alumni and fans 鈥 Ole Miss turned to Barnes & Noble College (BNC), its longtime bookstore partner. BNC ensured customers could purchase all the championship merchandise they craved, in real time, and collaborated with Ole Miss to extend the celebration, boost school pride and increase sales.

THE SOLUTION

BNC-operated campus stores, including the Ole Miss store, have year-round access to the widest network of logo product vendors in the industry, thanks to the partnership with Fanatics and Lids. And, the BNC team works behind the scenes to maximize hot market opportunities such as tournament wins, ensuring the right assortment of merchandise is available for purchase by passionate fans eager to celebrate. BNC also executes thoughtfully curated omni-channel marketing campaigns to promote the merchandise, driving traffic and sales.

Less than 10 minutes after Ole Miss won the College World Series, 66 new products 鈥 including t-shirts, hats, banners, lanyards, can coolers and yard games 鈥 featuring the championship win were available for sale on the campus store website.

Following the victory, BNC and Ole Miss fueled the momentum, promoting the championship merchandise while fan excitement was at its peak. The university created original social media content featuring the merchandise as well as sharing BNC content on Facebook and Instagram. For a week after the win, the university featured the merchandise and linked to the campus stores website in UMToday, a daily email newsletter that goes out to students, faculty and staff. Alumni also received an email from Ole Miss encouraging them to check out the merchandise selection and buy online. In store, BNC created a dynamic display to capitalize on the increased campus traffic due to orientation.

After the University of Mississippi won the 2022 College World Series, ecstatic fans were ready to celebrate. BNC had championship merchandise available to buy in real time 鈥 and partnered with Ole Miss to keep fans fired up.

THE RESULTS

Online sales of championship merchandise and other spirit gear surged in the first hour after the College World Series win, then doubled during the next 24 hours, resulting in a one-day sales total that exceeded the previous five months combined. After only one month following the win, the Ole Miss campus store had achieved triple-digit increases in 2022 year-to-date sales of branded merchandise.

Online sales were up 718% year over year for school spirit clothing and 522% for gifts and other gear. Sales also increased in store, up 119% for school spirit clothing and 121% for gifts, building on the energy of the College World Series win and orientation.

“Traditions are the thread that binds our students, alumni, parents and fans across generations. Barnes & Noble College provides the school spirit gear and branded merchandise our supporters seek to show their Ole Miss pride and celebrate our teams 鈥 during the big victories and throughout the year.

After our College World Series win, BNC had championship merchandise available online within minutes, capturing the excitement over our victory, delivering what our customers want, and driving revenue to our store.”

Kathy Tidwell, Director of Contract Services and University Licensing, University of Mississippi