The organisation says that the digital initiative will complement its existing channels into the student market and the app will help “build stronger relationships with consumer brands and students”.
It is also launching Student-aid.co.uk, a social networking website created specifically for UK university students. It allows students to find friends in halls, clubs or on campus and allows them to share lecture notes with other students and staff.
Student Aid already issues a “Student Aid Welcome Parcel”, which places brands directly into a quarter of student’s halls of residence each year, similar to the Bounty.com parenting packs issued to new parents.
The free app will launch across Blackberry and Android in time for Fresher’s week in September and will roll out to remaining smart phones throughout 2011.
At launch, it will give students access to more than 800 local discounts and deals and Student Aid aims to extend the service and have 2,500 retailers on board by 2011.
The app uses geo-location technology to establish the student’s location and then presents a number of local offers and maps and directions to the retail outlet where it can be redeemed.
It will also be able to send personalised offers to students within a two-minute walk from participating retailers.
Andy Fidler, managing director of Student Aid, says: “Students are the perfect target market for mobile marketing; they are early adopters, technology savvy and influenced by penetration pricing. Mobile offers are the ideal platform to drive sales from students, whilst building long-term relationships with tomorrow’s high earners”.
Student Aid will advertise the new digital platforms directly to students via its Welcome Parcel and University Guide products as well as at on and off campus events.