Last week, we sat down with fashion brand and Student Beans partner, Princess Polly, to discuss the challenges of international expansion, the benefits of social media marketing, and why Gen Z students should be at the heart of your marketing strategy. Here are some of the highlights:
Reaching a global Gen Z audience – student loyalty, exclusivity and more
As digital natives, Gen Zs have the world at their fingertips – which is why more brands are expanding their business to cater for this global consumer audience. Last year, Australian-based fashion brand, Princess Polly, launched their US webpage. The brand has since seen impressive results with US student consumers in their first year, thanks to its core strategies.
“We base our main strategy on customer surveys,” explains Kim Zorn, Head of Performance at Princess Polly. “We had an existent US customer base already when we launched our US webpage, and we found out that actually 75% of our customers are uni or high school students – so students were a huge part of our US expansion.”
“To date, 60-70% of all our Student Beans US code sales are actually new customers,” adds Kim. “It’s still great to see that after a year of being live with the program, we still attract tons of new customers with our student program. Other channels that we used for our US expansion included paid social strategies, a college ambassador program, and we also launched some college and uni clothing ranges.”
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Social media marketing – a must in order to win Gen Z consumers
Of course, social media marketing goes hand in hand with Gen Z’s digitally native qualities – and plays an essential role in Princess Polly’s student marketing strategy. “Social media marketing for us is huge,” says Kim. “We are on every possible social media channel that you can be on. We do Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, and Twitter marketing. Our recent customer survey showed that our customers use social media everyday across different channels. One channel that was really successful for us was TikTok. During COVID last year, we started doing TikTok marketing which was extremely successful. We were one of the earlier adopters, as we started our TikTok career in 2019 and TikTok has played such an important part in our social media strategy overall.”
Tapping into the student calendar – Cyber Week
This year, Princess Polly are kicking off their plans for Cyber Week and Black Friday early – in fact, plans are already well underway for this crucial November sales period, due the huge success of last year’s shopping event.
“Cyber Week 2020 was our biggest event to date – our biggest day, biggest week, biggest month in history. We were so far above our forecast and we definitely exceeded expectations. Something we did differently last year was our different strategies for different channels. For students, we had a special offer on Student Beans that launched a week prior to the big event. They got an additional 10% off sale items, which was in addition to our Cyber Week offer – and the results that we saw were amazing. The US results absolutely blew our minds – we gained 1400% increase in sales, and 1200% increase in revenue. Student Beans were definitely a big part of our strategy.”
Half of Australian students are passionate about sustainability, and 95% of US students say it’s important that a brand cares about sustainability and protecting the environment. With such a large student following in the US and Australia, Princess Polly have been proactive in their sustainability efforts, based on their quarterly customer surveys.
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“Our customers really care about the environment, and as a brand we really care about the environment, too,” explains Kim. “We recently launched Princess Polly Earth Club, which focuses on four key impact areas – ethical sourcing, sustainable products, protecting the planet and equality. We also recently launched our first sustainable range, which sold out so quickly – we’ve already had to restock it. Our customers absolutely loved it – we’re aiming to have 20% of our products made with lower impact materials by 2022 and 60% by 2025. We are going to be using 100% low impact materials before 2030 – it’s a big commitment but it’s really worthwhile and everyone at the company is really passionate about it.”
If you missed it the first time around, catch the full webinar on-demand: Princess Polly wears the crown: how to build brand loyalty with a global Gen Z audience.