By Craig Laskey, Students’ Union Manager, and Joe Armer, Students’ Union President, York College Students’ Union
Since 2007 we have significantly developed our sales strategy, which has seen sales rise from 249 in 2006/07 to 1,463 in 2011/12 – an increase of 588 per cent.
Key to our success is putting most effort into promoting sales during the enrolment period. This is when we sell the most cards, and relying on this period has reduced the need for a long-term staffing resource. During enrolment, students are often accompanied by their parents, who are more than willing to pay for the card!
We continue this sales activity during the welcome period when our returning students come back to the college. Following the welcome period and enrolment, we continue sales directly from the students’ union office.
In 2008/09, we were able to use the profits we generated to purchase laptops which we now use to sell cards during the welcome period and enrolment. Additionally, laptops are very effective in helping with the everyday running of the union office throughout the rest of the year.
We create a buzz around NUS extra by sending out information in our pre-enrolment packs, as well as by speaking to every student about the benefits of the card at the principal’s presentation at the beginning of term. Furthermore, we have developed our NUS extra stall so that it stands out from surrounding stalls during the enrolment and the welcome period.
This year, during enrolment, we handled the ID card distribution process, which is normally done by the college itself. This meant that every student had to visit our stall, and could be given information about the NUS extra card. This attributed to our 20 per cent increase in sales. Next year, we’re looking to take it even further by investing in on-site printing.
This means we will be able to handle the sales process and card collection in one go, reducing staff resource while also providing a better customer experience. We are also investigating the purchase of tablet computers, making our sales process mobile, which will also help to improve the customer experience.
Furthermore, we have now ringfenced a portion of the profit made from the card to develop our infrastructure, which will include purchasing a till. This means we will be able to take cash sales without sending students to queue at the college’s finance desk, reducing the ‘I’ll do it later’ effect.
NUS extra has really made a difference to our union. We have become increasingly autonomous from our college and this would not have been possible without the income from NUS extra card sales.