Keeping Students Connected

By: Samantha Lewis


We've all be there, poor college students, looking for the cheapest way to get books for our courses. Now days though, books are just the half of it. In our computer age students are also saddled with having to purchase software programs and tools. This is where Journey Education (JourneyEd) comes in.

JourneyEd has been around for 18 years and bills itself as the leading multi-channel software marketer to the K-12 and college academic markets. JourneyEd was the first off-campus software reseller to students, Director of Marketing, Allan Fischler, told MacDirectory that the company started as a small educational resale outlet in 1990-91. At the time they were only authorized to sell AutoCAD at about "75 percent off of the commercial price, but it was limited to private career school students."

As tine went on, the firm added more software, eventually building a comprehensive catalog of more than 100,000 items. They were also able to increase their discounts and offer them to all students, as well as faculty.

A few years ago, when Barnes and Noble College Bookstores began to realize that managing software as a a part of their inventory was too difficult, JourneyEd stepped up and stepped in. Said Fischler: "They were looking for a solution... so wee became their online solution."

As an example of the discounts students can get using JourneyEd, Fischler told MacDirectory about Maya, which is software used to create movie special effects. It comes in a variety of types, and runs about $6,000 commercially. Students can get it through JourneyEd however, for about $400.

So ho do they keep commercial users from taking advantage of their site? Says Fischler: "We have an online verification system as well as a dedicated academic verification department." The verification process takes about a minute, and, once verified, orders are shipped out, usually the same day "because most students have an immediate need for what they order."

As to how they avoid running into the inventory problems experienced by a commercial bookstore, Fischler says, "We're always looking to see what we can do to stay ahead of the game. Our vendors are always looking ahead and always working on new stuff. For instance, last year Microsoft and adobe had two new major releases and sales just went through the roof because everyone wanted to get the new version - and we were able to communicate these new academic offers to our customers." JourneyEd also continually updates its site, not just in terms of the look and design, but also to make it more user-frendly. "Last time we split it up into stores and added bags and hardware and those have been fast growing categories for us. We're also always looking at what else students might need."

It is in this spirit of keeping up with students needs that JourneyEd recently embarked on a program with Microsoft, called Microsoft Student Select. This is where schools (including high schools) sign a contract with Microsoft to buy their software. In return the schools are given something called a Student Select Addendum, which allows Microsoft to extend deals to individual students enabling them to get Microsoft software from Journey Education at an additional discount. Their biggest seller under this program is Microsoft Office Pro, which is discounted down to $85.

Looking ahead, Fischler says the biggest challenge JourneyEd currently faces is getting the word about its service out to parents and students. But, says Fischler, "every year is better than the year before. 2007 was our best year to date. We may be recession proof because our customers are students and there's no shortage of them, every year there is a new crop and they need software."

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For further information on Student discount softwareplease visit www. journeyed.com.

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