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How to Engage Student Shoppers | Affiliate Marketing During Festive Season

It’s no secret that students are constantly looking forward to the next event, season or product launch. As eager Gen Zers, they want experiences, and as affiliate marketers, it’s your responsibility to deliver!

Student shopping habits have changed dramatically over recent years and the last-click attribution model is no longer the most important measure of performance marketing. Now, the affiliate marketer needs to focus on the complete, end-to-end experience, both before and after purchase. 

But why is this important? Well, having a detailed understanding of what’s happening in the lives of young people helps affiliate marketers understand what holiday shoppers want and empowers you to increase revenue (knowing what to promote and when is pretty useful…!).

Our report, The Ultimate Gen Z Festive Guide for Affiliate Marketers, looks at key things that are happening in students’ lives right now and shares actionable takeaways for affiliate marketing partners, discussing everything from shopping habits to the rising cost of living. In this blog post, we share some highlights.

The rising cost of living during the festive season 

This year hasn’t been an easy one for students, and Christmas 2023 isn’t set to be much better. Traditionally, this is a time for gift-giving and experiences, but economic uncertainty is dominating people’s lives and spending habits are being impacted.

Currently, 60% of Gen Zers are concerned about their finances and 67% have suffered from mental health issues due to their recent financial situation. Understanding these issues will help affiliate marketers reach commercial objectives whilst remaining empathetic to audiences’ concerns – something that’s crucial for driving customer loyalty.

The solution? Discounts!

Discounts are a surefire way to connect with students – after all, who doesn’t like a cheeky percentage off?! Our research has revealed that a huge 90% of students would consider shopping with a new brand if they offered a student discount, whilst 73% said they’d expect to visit a student discount site over the festive period. Given the rising cost of living and the looming holiday season, there’s no better time to introduce a student discount programme…

Three Gen Z woman laughing together. One is being pushed in a shopping trolley.

Ultimately, students want to be frivolous at Christmas, but this year they’ll need to do so in a budgeted, cost-effective manner. As an affiliate marketer, it’s a time of year when you can maximise earnings, but you need to have a solid strategy in place that supports students and offers great deals. A significant 45% of students shared that they look for a student discount every they make a purchase, so it’s not something to be ignored!

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we can help! Finding success is all about choosing the right providers to promote and understand your consumer’s environment, and that’s where publishers like Student Beans can help affiliate marketers provide shoppers with the best products for the best prices

Online vs offline: Student shopping expectations 

Surprise, surprise: the student shopper doesn’t have a straightforward purchasing journey. As a generation of digital natives, the buyer’s journey has multiple touchpoints, and young people want an omnichannel experience. From inspiration to conversion, their journey sits across multiple platforms, and young people expect brands to provide them with different opportunities and experiences to keep them interested and engaged.

What are the trend impacting their habits this year?: TikTok Shop

Young people want a clean, intuitive shopping experience that will make the journey as convenient as possible, and TikTok’s in-app shopping platform provides them with just that. TikTok Shop, an integration with Shopify, allows merchants, brands and creators to sell products directly to their audiences on TikTok.

The huge benefit of this? TikTok Shop allows brands to interact with communities, something that’s incredibly important on the app. The shopping platform allows brands to leverage already-dedicated communities and get them involved in existing conversations.

And as for Gen Z, TikTok provides them with that immersive and entertaining experience that they crave. This also makes it perfect for the festive period: with thousands making their purchasing decisions based on their online habits, it’s clear that this blend of entertainment and shopping is something that Gen Z is craving.

Offering IRL experiences to a generation of digital natives

Christmas markets, hot chocolates and festive lights: these are all experiences that shoppers miss out on if they choose to do their holiday shopping from the comfort of their beds.

But whilst part of the joy of the festive season is visiting physical stores and experiencing the holiday magic with friends, brick-and-mortar stores still have a lot to compete with and need to offer unique experiences in order to grab the attention of young spenders. So how exactly can marketers innovate and offer exciting IRL experiences for Gen Z shoppers?

Happy girl wearing yellow coat and standing outdoors on winter evening at bus stop.

1. QR codes throughout stores

The perfect way of blending IRL and URL experiences, QR codes encourage interactivity. Try sharing exclusive content and personalised discounts that shoppers can only access by visiting in-person stores.

2. Good customer service

Any negative experiences in your stores will be publicly shared, and a good experience will lead to recommendations to friends and family.

3. Have good ethics

This is applicable to both the online and offline world, but having a brick-and-mortar store provides you with the opportunity to showcase the good work you’re doing in the world

4. Make them want to stick around

Whether it’s live streaming events, gamified experiences, or competitions, you need to offer Gen Z shoppers something they can’t resist that will drag them into your stores and away from their cosy homes.

Ultimately, the key to engaging student shoppers this festive season is blending offline and online experiences. They may be a generation of digital natives, but with the cold air and festive spirit coaxing them out, it’s vital that you maximise these opportunities.

Want more like this? Download our full The Ultimate Gen Z Festive Guide for Affiliate Marketers resource now. 

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