Jeff Vanek is Nelnet Campus Commerce’s product manager of eStore and Cashiering, and agreed to give us a sneak peek on the latest new features rolling out.
Q: Hi, Jeff! Describe your job for us.
I’ve been at Nelnet Campus Commerce for three years. I’m like the parent for eStore and Cashiering and get to help my babies develop and grow. I talk to clients and see what they want or don’t want, then connect with various teams across Nelnet Campus Commerce — the development, training and marketing teams, for example — and create a roadmap to make it happen.
How do you know what customers want?
I get the opportunity to visit several sites a year and see how our products are being used. It’s so interesting, because every campus does things slightly differently. Some schools have eStore for their Campus Store, and others use eStore for multiple departments. We’re always learning and tweaking things to create a better experience for our clients.
What do you like best about your job?
I’m a people-person and love talking and working with my team. They’re smart, friendly, and professional.
Also, it’s been thrilling to see the new Cashiering system grow from scratch into a product I can demo — our upcoming version is web and app based. Watching schools’ reactions has been the best. We’re now in the beta school stage. My little product is growing up and people are excited about it.
What eStore products enhancements are rolling out?
- Recently, all online stores became required to collect taxes from the state of the person buying the product. So we’ve integrated TaxCloud with our eStore, so that all regional taxes are known and constantly updated automatically. Individual state taxes are one less thing our customers need to worry about.
- We’re offering single sign-on with eStore. This means schools can choose to allow customers and admins to use their school email address and credentials to purchase items.
- We’ve just released a limited functionality component. So if a campus has multiple departments using eStore, they can choose for each administrator to only see their own store — instead of all administrators having the same backend access.
- We’ve created a mobile register feature. Campus groups can scan barcodes and accept cash, check and credit cards — all from their phone.
If clients have suggestions for new features, what do they do?
Pass on your suggestion to your account manager, they’ll send it to the product team. Every suggestion is heard. If we hear multiple people have similar issues or there’s an innovative idea, those suggestions get addressed first. But every suggestion is reviewed, assessed within our team and then put on our roadmap.
If someone wants to be a product manager, what skills would they need?
You have to be self-directed and able to manage your time. You’re working with remote teammates, so organization and communication skills are important. Also professional speaking ability and confidence are helpful traits, because product managers do a lot of presentations at conferences and working one-on-one with clients.
When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
You can find me hanging out with my family — watching hockey, picking out a live Christmas tree or bowling with my kids.
What do you want everyone to know?
Come to our user group conference, CampusConnect, in October and come see me! I’ll be giving a presentation on eStore and Cashiering and would love to meet you.