Modernize Your Higher Ed Shopping Cart with a Next-Gen System
Most higher education registration systems are designed to be iterative, not innovative. That means they were built to digitize paper and pencil processes, instead of actually taking advantage of being digital assets.
“Most online student enrollment registration systems in higher ed grew up around the physical structure of the college or university, and were built with an administrative focus in mind rather than the needs of the student,” said Mark Mrozinski, a continuing education leader at Harper College for more than 30 years.
That means your institution is probably making students jump through all kinds of hoops to get what they’re looking for. And that’s your best-case scenario!
Students today think and act like customers. If you don't have a next-gen system in place, it’s likely that prospective students will give up on your website and seek out a digital experience that more closely matches their expectations.
“The harder we make it for students to jump through our hoops to get to their goals, the more likely they’re going to leave and choose another institution for their educational needs.”
Lesley Nichols | Executive Director of Professional Studies, Emerson College
Reduce Dropoff: Why Your System Isn’t Bringing Students Through
Most registration systems expect everyone to go through the same process. The student comes to the website, they add an offering to the cart, and they check out.
Three steps. That’s it. 1-2-3.
The problem is, there’s a whole world of people out there and a whole range of pathways and experiences that your next-gen system is probably missing.
Today’s online shopping environment is incredibly complex. Today’s consumer is looking for an experience that is tailored and personalized.
Your registration needs to deliver on both.
“We could improve the student enrollment registration experience by modeling it off of similar features in Amazon.”
Emily Joy Bembeneck | Associate Director of Pedagogical Innovation in the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, University of Chicago
Meet Expectations: The Need for a Next-Gen System
A modern registration system should make the most of being a digital asset. It should deliver more than just an online shopping cart (which, let’s be honest, is table-stakes in the 21st century)—it needs to go far beyond that.
Does your registration system help people find what they’re looking for?
Your next-gen system needs to provide SEO-optimization for your website.
Beyond that, it needs to make your website easy for students to navigate. They need to be able to browse programs, certificates, courses and badges to find what’s right for them. Or, if they know what they want, you need to offer an advanced search that helps them to find it quickly and easily.
From either step, students then expect to arrive at a landing page for their selected offering that provides the information they need to make an informed buying decision.
“A superior user experience can help universities attract learners to their programs and provide an education that is conducive to learners’ needs and lives.”
Quentin Ruiz-Esparza | Associate Director of Online Duke, Duke University
Improve Automation: Making Life Easier for Prospects
So many factors go into the decision of whether to run a particular course or program (check out this exec guide for more on that). But just because something’s not being offered right now doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for it!
If a student gets to your offering landing page, but the course they want isn’t being offered, what does your registration system do?
More than likely, it suggests students come back later. Do you really think—in a market with over 8,000 competitors—the prospective student is going to put an alert on their phone to navigate back to your website?
Clearly not. You need to make it easy for them.
Your next-gen system needs to provide Remind-Me functionalities when a program isn’t available, and automate your waitlist if it’s full.
That way, when the course or spot opens up, the system automatically notifies the right people.
The more technology you can leverage to simplify the education shopping experience, the better.
“After Destiny One sent the automated emails for the first time, 25 percent of the recipients signed up for courses right away.”
Carolyn Young | Director of Continuing Studies, Western University
Enhance Your Cart: Digital Shopping in the New Age
There is no reason for a digital shopping cart to be static, but in most higher education registration systems that’s all it is. The shopping cart does nothing more than collect offerings and allow students to process payments.
But it can be so much more! Think about your Amazon shopping cart. It:
- Provides visual cues to remind you what you’re purchasing.
- Allows you to input discount codes and shows you, right on screen, your adjusted price.
- Saves items for later, so you don’t lose the products that interest you.
- Reminds you when you’ve left things in your shopping cart, so you can come back and make the purchase.
- Sticks with your account, so when you add items to your cart on your phone, you can see those same items when you log in on your computer.
A next-gen registration system should also do all of these things. You should be offering your prospective students that exact engagement—because it’s what they expect.
And it makes a difference in the dollars and cents, too. Through the abandoned shopping cart recovery feature, Modern Campus customers generated an average revenue boost of 17% in a single year!
“Within the first three months of implementing Destiny One and abandoning the Banner product, we increased online registrations by 63%.”
Scott Cashman | Manager of Continuing Education, Harper College
Stop Playing Checkers: The Market Is Playing Chess
Destiny One is the next-gen system you need to expand your reach. Your traditional registration system just doesn’t cut it anymore.
The system streamlines and simplifies the registration process to deliver a checkout experience built on eCommerce best-practices. But it also does so much more… because it’s a next-gen system!
It makes your website findable from search engines and easy to navigate. That way, prospective students can find you, and then easily find the offerings that suit them best.
Then, it makes the website work for the student by providing the information they need to progress through to check out. It even automates waitlist and reminder functions to make sure they can access the offering later if it’s unavailable.
Finally, it puts the shopping cart to work—taking it from a static piece of code to a living engagement mechanism that’s persistent and impactful.
If you’re not using a next-gen system, it’s time to put your registration system to work for you!
Book a demo to learn why Destiny One is the next-gen system your institution needs.
Last updated: February 1, 2021