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Partner Perspective: Student Beans

Feb 17, 2021

Head of Affiliate, Student Beans

We work with some of the most successful and influential publishers in affiliate. Our Partner Perspective series sets out to learn from the best of the best and pick up a few secrets to their success along the way.

In this installment, we highlight Student Beans!

Tell us about Student Beans, what’s the story?

Student Beans launched in 2005, when brothers James and Michael Eder dreamed up a digital student loyalty platform that would give students an affordable way of purchasing from brands they love – while simultaneously connecting retailers to the student demographic. 

15 years later, we’re your gateway to success with Gen Z. Our technology and media solutions have evolved with the generations, and today we equip brands with end-to-end student programs that speak directly to Gen Z’s interests and shopping habits. 

Tell us what Student Beans do and why you do it.

Generation Z is loaded with potential – and they’re your next generation of consumers. They’re digitally connected, financially savvy, and they have more choice when it comes to shopping than ever before. As students, they’re developing spending habits and brand loyalties daily. 

Student Beans creates lasting relationships between Gen Z and brands. Our suite of solutions help brands to find, attract, engage and convert verified students. And that’s just the start. Our extensive network of global media touchpoints, along with our conversion optimization tools, drive repeat purchases, building the habits that turn Gen Z into your lifelong customers.

What sets Student Beans apart from others or makes it unique? 

There are a couple of things. We don’t believe in gatekeeping the brands that we work with – across our app and website, you’ll see some of the biggest brands alongside smaller disruptors and niche retailers. We’re adept at helping brands to grow using our global reach and local knowledge – and we’re equally an asset to brands that want to consolidate an existing market share of Gen Z consumers. 

We have an in-house insights team which serves as a regular touchpoint with our global community of Gen Z students. Through this global reservoir of qualitative and quantitative student research, we know that every decision we make is underpinned by the student users themselves- and every recommendation we make to brands is based on this, too. 

What type of brands work well with the Student Beans audience?

Quite honestly, anything and everything! Students are a unique demographic and their interests are broad enough to encompass a whole range of shopping verticals. 

Historically, we’ve partnered with startups that are looking to grow internationally, brands looking to establish trust with Gen Z, brands with metric-led goals that want to drive sales and revenue – those who want to reach Gen Zs for the first time, and those who want to consolidate existing market share. 

Can you share a success story from your partnership with Partnerize that really stands out to you?

Partnerize is a valued partner for Student Beans. For the successful management of any partnership program it requires that all key stakeholders work closely together to achieve the best results. The EE program, run through Partnerize is a really good example of this and you can see more details of this in our EE case study.

What Partnerize technology innovation has had the greatest impact on your team?

Developments to Partnerize’s platform have been well received by the team here at Student Beans. The platform is very intuitive and the reporting and analytics stack is insightful. This has allowed our Account Managers to really delve into our client performance and help them optimise their student discount programs.

Student Beans work with a number of brands across the Partnerize platform so having clear, concise data in a user-friendly environment is incredibly important.

What’s on the roadmap for Student Beans?

2020 was a huge year for us – we were featured in the Times Tech Track 100, we won an award for our international strategy, and as ever, we grew our brands and users like never before. We’re excited to continue to bring brands end-to-end student program solutions during 2021, embracing the challenge of doing so virtually, and helping Gen Z students and the brands they love to stay connected during COVID-19. 

What is your top tip for brands exploring the student market?

Put your student discount front and centre. Unlike the millennial audience, Gen Zs respond best to messaging that gets to the point. They’re less likely to click on ads featuring influencers, celebrities or humour – but 86% would click on an ad that shows a high student discount. Make sure you’re speaking their language by keeping things clear and concise. 

Did you see a shift in Gen Z shopping behaviors, due to the pandemic?

Yes! We have kept a close eye on Gen Z spending – and the biggest thing to note is that Gen Z students bucked global trends by actually shopping more during the pandemic, rather than less. In the UK, student loan payments continued even as certain expenses stopped. Many students channelled their spend into online shopping. 

45% of students have said their online shopping habit has increased during lockdown, with 36% maintaining pre-pandemic levels of online shopping. While not all purchases are possible right now, it’s important to note that 45% of students have researched things to buy in the future. 

In terms of verticals, many of the fashion brands we partner with have benefitted from pivoting to loungewear – seeing sales uplifts as high as 288% as a result of moving with the times. Fitness and athleisure have been high on students’ shopping lists for months, as they seek alternative ways of working out from home. And of course, tech has seen a huge boom as a result of the pandemic – students are not only buying laptops, smartphones and tablets, but also accessories and wearable tech to further enhance their home study environment. 

Can you share your top two predictions, for university students in 2021?

Firstly, a short-term prediction – the relationship between streaming and shopping will grow stronger than ever in 2021. With most in-person activities off the table, it comes as no surprise that 61% of students have maintained or increased their use of streaming services like Netflix. More surprising, perhaps, is the impact on shopping. From Bridgerton-inspired corset shopping to a spike in Chess sets after The Queen’s Gambit, it’s clear that Netflix and platforms like it have become a major source of shopping inspiration for students in lockdown. Shows likely to leave students reaching for their wallets include season three of Sex Education and To All the Boys: Always and Forever – to name just two. 

Our second prediction is more of a long-term forecast. With the vaccine rollout progressing across the world, we believe that when students are able to return to campuses, it will be a massive cultural event. First-year students in three of our key territories – the UK, US and Australia – have never known their university beyond the virtual environment – and that’s a lot of pent-up demand. This cohort of students who will want to get to know their new city, revel in in-person events, and really experience university life beyond their dorm rooms. Events such as Welcome Week in Australia, Freshers in the UK and Back to School in the US will not just be limited to first-year students – but any student – making them bigger and more exciting than ever. 

To learn more about Student Beans, register to attend our upcoming Partner Perspective webinar. 

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