The Un-holiday Promotion for Campus Retailers

Friends are taking a selfies with Christmas presents

Right as college retailers are launching their holiday promotions, college students are probably hunkering down studying for exams, maybe even while juggling extracurriculars and a part-time job or internship. So, when are students going to focus on holiday shopping? Chances are they’ll leave holiday shopping until they’re on Thanksgiving or winter break and away from campus, so how do you capture additional mid- to end-of-year sales besides pushing up the holiday season? Retail therapy. Remind students that their campus retailer can be a source of products for decompression by building alternative marketing campaigns focused on self-care and escaping the demands of heavy course loads. Here’s what you can do to influence shopping splurges ahead of the holidays.

Expand your experiential marketing

Gen Z has replaced millennials on college campuses, and in the wake of social distancing, Gen Z consumers crave in-store shopping experiences. Experiential marketing can captivate these students, and this marketing approach does not have to be complicated. Creating experiences is about reworking décor and in-store displays around a theme like relaxation with music and curating compatible products. Consider letting students demo headphones and listen to music in the stores to test key features like noise cancellation. Skullcandy is a stellar example of a vendor that creates an immersive shopping experience with listening stations for customers to try on different pairs of headphones, compare their favorites, and make the best purchase decision. Evolve your experiential marketing for the holidays and offer relevant gift cards near these displays.

Connect with Tech

Embrace tech to better engage students, enhance retail displays, and offer a better in-store and online integration. After you’ve curated select products in your in-store displays, you can give students access to your entire product line with a touch-screen display.

Think Outside Your Industry

Can you adapt ideas from off-campus companies? Subscriptions services have become popular and promise to remain so for the foreseeable future. Can you curate one-off, curated boxes, like an “exam survival box,” that students can pick up in-store? Or maybe even a “game day box” with campus apparel and accessories, like face paint, foam fingers, and hand warmers? You can make up premade boxes or let students customize selections online. You could even build a social media Instagram campaign around students taking pictures using items from their box and offer a future discount for a lucky participant. You can even evolve this campaign idea by including marketing collateral that suggests picking up a curated gift box for family and friends.

We want to hear from you! Does your store celebrate the holidays?


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