Gone are the days where customers shop with you because their parents always have, or that you are a well-known brand, students have changed this mentality. Students have brand expectations that if you don’t meet, they probably won’t shop with you.
Online and on the high street, we are saturated with similar businesses each telling us they are the best, but students are wise to these tactics. Students are passionate about whom they give their business to and have certain criteria when it comes to brand loyalty; sure, students like to spend but they like to spend it the way these chose.
In this article we are going to discuss the main brand expectations students have, how does your business fare?
In our previous article (link to new How Discounts Impact Student Spending article) we discussed how discounts impact student spending and how students may negatively view businesses that don’t have a discount scheme in place. Not all students have large disposable incomes, and even those that do are particular with how they spend it; discounts are a great way to make your products/services more accessible to the student market.
Students are strong advocates of a good business ethic and like to shop with brands that have similar beliefs, not only by saying they do but implements these changes into their work ethos. Students favour businesses that support local produce, protect the environment, give their staff equal rights and provide an ethical all-round experience. Due to ethics being such an important decider for students, this is why many students feel passionate about supporting local businesses as they feel more inclined to support those actively making a change.
Students have seen some great examples of good customer service from their local retailers to on campus promotional events, so they no longer think it is acceptable for anything less than that high standard. Driving students to your store is only part of the task, the experience they have in your store will be the decider as to whether they will return and give you valuable word of mouth exposure. It is important to remember that word of mouth is great when you have provided students a great experience but can be extremely damaging if they are not happy with your service.
Students can be put off by brands that they feel they can’t relate to and end up feeling alienated, therefore blacklisting your brand as somewhere they don’t ‘fit in’ and aren’t accepted. Whilst we aren’t suggesting you jump onto social media and creating a more ‘student friendly’ persona, you do need to move into the 21st century if you want to obtain business from this age group. Introducing yourself by advertising on campus at events or Freshers is a great way of putting your brand on the map and going to the students directly. On campus events are an ideal opportunity for brands to understand your audience and see what does and doesn’t work.