Many retailers are getting a crash course in adjusting quickly to changing consumers trends during this atypical back-to-school shopping season. And few are closer to the front lines than Follett Higher Education Group.

Follett operates more than 1,200 campus store locations and 1,800 ecommerce websites for colleges across the U.S., selling both general merchandise and textbooks. Follett, No. 82 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, also has contracts with more than 6,000 textbook publishers to sell both physical and digital course materials to students.

As the retailer attempts to take an early pulse on back-to school sales, a few trends are developing, says Roe McFarlane president Follett Higher Education Group. Online sales are surging, consumers are opting to ship products rather than pick up in store and many students are buying…

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