We use cookies to improve your online experience. For information on the cookies we use and for details on how we process your personal information, please see our privacy policy. By continuing to use our website you consent to us using cookies.
Pre-drinks, part of the university experience

Pre-drinks, part of the university experience

Pre-drinks, part of the university experience

Universities are tapping into the digital experience of young peoples’ routines, accommodating the ‘grab-and-go’ nature of student life. Instead of trying to pull this generation away from their smartphones, student unions and caterers are capitalising on an eager and fast-growing user base. It is important to view university space not just as a place of learning but also as a model for business and community. As such, just as any other model, longevity depends upon its responsiveness to its audience.

Between lectures, seminars and dissertations students often don’t have time to bring a coffee with them or pack themselves a lunch. Instead, students are far more likely to opt for a quick and easy service when available. For example, 25% of 16-24s said they would be more likely to use a vending machine if it was better equipped. The ability for self-service gives students the power to choose how they spend their time and their money. In fact, a student survey in America regarded the location of a vendor second only to the price of what they were buying. Often with limited time between lectures, waiting for food and drink creates a significant opportunity cost, foregoing work or a much needed break. The cost is considered great enough that nearly half of this demographic would be more likely to consider paying a higher price for a faster service and actually influences where they choose to go. Instead of penalising the consumer, universities must understand their buying habits.

As established in ‘The changing scene of consumer experience in festivals’, young people are refining their lives into simpler, more resourceful formats. Part of this simplification, explained by The Payments Council is that younger people are some of the least reliant on cash and most likely to try alternative methods that suits them better. Universities across the UK are responding to these trends by incorporating cashless schemes with on-site facilities. Loading up pre-paid cards, as used at Warwick University, has given students a glimpse of a cashless university but falls short of mobile pre-ordering which needs no topping up or face-to-face transaction. Since individuals between 18-34 are four times more likely to carry a phone than cash, apps such as Orderella have targeted student unions in an active market. Providing a combination of flash promotional offers and an active social media platform, Orderella has invested in its own name as the students’ choice. However, its drive for high volume sales left the The Tower Bar, Lincoln overwhelmed and forced to close down as customers had to wait up to an hour and a half. Instead of better managing peak times and surges around meal times, some students could not even get into the bar because of the queues waiting for food and drink. With operation costs at £249 per month, this takes out a large proportion out of the student union monthly budget instead of helping them expand. Moreover, by pushing the Orderella name, they are disintermediating student unions from the students they are serving.

It is important to note that although inconsistent, Orderella has addressed an important factor: students love a good deal. Up from 2009, 70% of students say that coupons and other promotional offers encourage them to place an offer. With Preoday’s web and app pre-ordering, individualised customer analytics enables targeted marketing and rewards loyalty. This cuts supply-side costs such as wastage and frees up staff time to be allocated more productively. These factors are particularly important in a close community like the university campus, bringing investment straight back into the student unions and effectively allocating scarce resources. With these venues being on-site, students can pick up their coffee on the way to the next lecture or on the way back from another. Furthermore, without the need for cash, payments can be tracked electronically and in real-time. At the end of the day, instead of being left with just a pocket full of change, students can review their expenditure and take account of their daily routine in a succinct, non-intrusive manner.

With greater power to choose when and where to eat and know exactly the costs involved, pre-ordering for students is an obvious market. Their receptiveness to new concepts is clear with average smartphone ownership 40% higher than the national average. When it comes to making their lives easier, young people are first out the gate. Only, universities must keep up and close the gap between student unions and students. http://webbanki.ru

Other Blog Articles