Welcome at the RWTH Shop

13/12/2018
Five women smiling at the camera inside a store Copyright: Peter Winandy

T-Shirts or rompers for babies, office supplies, honey from RWTH's own honey farm, Aachen's famous "Printen" cookies, or stuffed animals – all of that and more can be found at the RWTH shop. 

 

Right in the heart of the RWTH campus, in the Main Building, the RWTH shop beckons buyers with a broad range of useful, stylish, and even fair-trade products. A ballpoint pen amazes customers with its added functions, including a mechanic's level, slot and Phillips screwdriver, and a touch pen attachment. "We are working mostly with local production companies in order to support the Aachen region. At the same time, we can also guarantee our customers a 'Made in Germany' quality standard this way," emphasizes Claudia Kreutzer, having four years of sales experience under her belt. "In addition, we pay attention to products being environmentally sound and we sell fair wear," adds Ricarda Mahlberg, responsible for strategic communication.

The shop is among the five most profitable in the German academic landscape. Apart from the shop in the Main Building, the products are also sold online. Rush hours tend to happen particularly at the beginning of a semester, when proud freshmen like to treat themselves to a T-shirt in RWTH design. But alumni also like to shop, displaying their school pride and continued ties to their alma mater. The most popular item is the 'Premium Hoodie Texas' in various styles, a special highlight being the 'Exklusiv Hoodie'. "Every two years, we put in a special order to produce an up-market edition amounting to 300 pieces of clothing, which are made exclusively for RWTH," reports Mahlberg.

A shopping experience guided by emotion

The marketing experts aim to surprise and induce customers to shop by offering enticing visual stimuli. Decorations and displays are fashioned according to the seasons and holidays. The so-called 'Key Visual', an illustration for the RWTH shop, shows the numerous articles on offer and can also be found in various other publications, thus offering brand recognition. Over time, a good stock of materials has been collected that can be used to present the merchandise in an varied and attractive manner. Some products are also on display in cases at the SuperC or Uniklinik.

Cat Louise and bear Charly have already been part of the product line for a long time. Inspiration for the two stuffed animals was campus tomcat King Loui I., who unfortunately died a year ago. Louise is King Loui's cat friend according to the story printed on the paper tags attached to the animals. "As a matter of principle, we want to offer a positive and emotionally appealing shopping experience that leaves a favorable, lasting impression of RWTH in people's minds," explains Kreutzer.

Customer feedback secures success

Special events are often used as an opportunity to have special sales campaigns as well. On the occasion of the graduation celebration, for instance, there is a graduates' shirt for sale – an exclusive T-shirt that is only available at the graduation celebration and can be personalized on site with the graduates' graduation year if they wish. When French Prime Minister Macron came to visit the university, a clothing line was produced with the RWTH slogan in French – Penser l'avenir. One of the shop's bestsellers used to be "Rector's Spice No. 1," the former rector's favourite barbecue seasoning mix. During warehouse sales campaigns, customers receive a cotton bag with each purchase as a gift as a sales promotion and on Black Friday, in November of every year, the online shop offers a ten percent rebate on all purchases.

The RWTH shop operates under the mangement of Linda Diepenbruck, head of the staff unit of Marketing. The marketing department is also where the ideas for the shop are developed in a team, with the RWTH brand, in a first step, visualized for each and every item. Customer feedback secures commercial success: Surveys are conducted and studies of current trends are consulted to adapt the shop's offerings to customer demand. "It's a great feeling, when you can hold a finished product in your hands and it also becomes popular with the designated target group," Kreutzer and Mahlberg agree.

Source: Press and Communications