With the economy in its current predicament, the high street is getting more desperate for business from students. Every year nearly half a million young people enrol on courses at universities in the UK; many take part time jobs, most receive student loans or grants, and banks offer substantial overdrafts to those in higher education; and there are almost 2 million university students in the UK, so it’s no surprise that high street stores take the student demographic very seriously.
Many high street shops offer special discounts for students when they present their NUS or student union cards, or have student discount cards of their own; it’s worth asking in shops whether they offer student deals as some don’t advertise the fact, potentially losing out in student business. Regularly large stores will give students 10% off their purchases; some extend this offer to their websites as well.
The Internet is often a cheaper place to buy goods and services, but it’s sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to get items delivered to halls of residence, and for many students high street shopping represents a social activity. When targeting a social group who want to spend but have a fairly tight budget, it makes perfect sense for shops to offer incentives to attract this custom.
Most university campuses are located in city centres, so students usually have to walk through busy shopping districts on their way to and from lectures. There is obviously a lot of business to be had simply through inviting students inside, but is this enough to get students to part with their student loans?
The past few years have seen a surge in voucher and discount sites with a predominantly young user base. In 2011, daily offer sites are just beginning to become profitable businesses, and consequently shops are wanting to get in on the act, offering cheaper, better deals that students can cash in on. Although access to these offers is via the Internet, for the most part they are intended to be taken up on the high street.
Printing out vouchers from your computer may only recently be gaining mainstream appeal, but technological advances are poised to push this fledgling industry further. Proximity marketing – sending vouchers and discount codes directly to your mobile device when you’re in range – will obviously appeal to companies targeting a younger audience, so deals for students clearly have a bright future.
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