Customer acquisition and CRO

5 things to think about before you offer a student discount

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
October 6, 2020
Last updated
May 9, 2024

What this article covers

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So you've read our 7 reasons to offer a student discount, and now you can't wait to get your special offers live. But first, there are some important things to consider before launching your new marketing promotion. Here, we share our student marketing advice to help maximise your ROI when offering a student discount.

How important is the student audience to your brand?

Students are set to become the high earners and business decision-makers of the future. By winning over a student you could have a valuable customer for life. Find out more about why you should offer a student discount to determine whether or not students have a place in your brand strategy.

What types of offers appeal to students?

The most popular kind of discount among students is money off, preferably a percentage rather than a set amount of money off. Buy one get one free (aka 2-for-1) works well with products where customers are likely to buy multiple items, for example, takeaway pizza. Other offers which can perform well include a free gift or no sign-up fee.

What size discount should you offer?

The deeper the discount, the more appealing it is to students. The recommended discount varies across industries. We asked our account management team to share their tips for each of the main brand categories we work.


A fashion brand discount should be 10% all year round, with monthly boosts to at least 20%. There should be no minimum spend! They really damage the performance of a discount.


A restaurant discount should be 20% off the total bill. In addition to this, there should be one off-peak day per week offering an increased discount of 50% off the total bill e.g. Mondays. Restaurant discounts should be available on the whole bill, including drinks, available at all times of the day and any day of the week.


We would recommend different % discounts for different products, but at a minimum, you should offer 10% off devices such as laptops and phones, and 30% off accessories and software.


We suggest beauty brands should offer 20% off all year round, with a monthly boost of 40%.


10-15% off is the recommended discount for travel products, with an extra discount when you book in groups. This can encourage students to invite more friends to travel together, so they can get a better deal.


We recommend 25-50% as standard, with flash sales like £20 tickets during off-peak periods.

How will you verify your student customers?

Our research has shown that 50% of students share their student cards with friends, which creates what we call “offer leakage.” This is a common concern for brands, who want to ensure that their student discount is only being used by legitimate students. This is why we developed our unique and innovative Student Beans verification technology, Part of Pion's student discount offering through Student Beans, which enables us to verify 163 million students in more than 100 different countries around the world.

How will you promote your discount?

There are loads of great ways to promote your discount and make sure students are aware of it. Here are a few that we recommend to our brand partners:

  • Add a link to your website header
  • Regularly email your student database
  • Advertise your discount in your store or restaurant using our point-of-sale promotional assets such as window stickers
  • Add the Student Beans badge to your site (you can request this from your account manager)
  • Mention the discount on your website’s FAQs page
  • Set up your search box to send users to the discount page when they search for terms such as ‘student’ or ‘student discount’

Partnering with Student Beans

If you choose Student Beans as your student discount partner, we offer exposure to our audience of over 163 million students worldwide. All brands who launch their student discount programme with us get a complimentary launch package. This package is to test the performance of their discount with our users so we can optimise where needed.

After launch, brands have the option to work with their account manager to secure further promotion by:

  • Boosting their student discount alongside events in our campaign calendar
  • Informing us of new product launches
  • Running their student discount on top of sales (a stackable discount)

To find out more about the benefits offering a student discount will bring to your brand, contact us.

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