Redefining University Retail: Trends and Strategies for 2024 

Out with navy, red and grey. In with the bold.

In 2023 we saw a move towards students choosing colours that they feel reflect themselves, a move towards more individuality and choice. This includes natural, which is a colour that works well with Stanley Stela or Native Spirit ranges which are made from 100% recycled, organic or regenerated products.

Flexibility to purchase

In 2023 we helped manage a click and collect service for one of our clients helping them secure 411 extra orders. However, e-commerce is a second must in providing flexibility. Some Universities such as Kings College London have 18,000 students of which 55% are overseas. This is a market that can sometimes be left out, but with e-commerce can easily be serviced.

Alumni, distance-learning students, and stakeholders want easy access to your range too. Whilst e-commerce won’t drive most of your sales yet, we are seeing levels of around 12-27% revenue through e-channels if you have a pre-existing physical retail store.

Upgrade e-commerce sites

As we all become more digitally native and market towards an increasing base of Generation X students, the e-commerce site needs to have additional features. One audit result we’re seeing more common when reviewing University e-commerce sites is advising stores to opt for a feature-rich paid theme on Shopify as opposed to a free theme like Dawn. This gives options like bundle deals and upsell functionality that you end up paying more for by buying bolt-on apps for the original free theme. Moreover, the site will be lighter, improve page loading speed and a better user experience (UX) for the user.

Moving out of China

Fewer products will be coming into the UK with ‘made in China’ labels. This is reflective of not only de-globalisation where Streamline is looking to strengthen by sourcing in countries closer to the UK and Europe, but it’s also more sustainable. A box flown from China to the UK uses around 3.75 Tonnes of Co2 and sea freighted uses around 253kg of Co2. Compare this to a product from Streamline made in the EU range which would see a comparative product of only 136kg of Co2 emissions.

‘Don’t buy this hoodie’

There will continue to be a decrease in the rise of fast fashion and students opting for a more quality, considered purchase that is not just empathetic with the brand they love, but associated with a product they love too. Visit a Streamline Showcase to view new ranges that are premium, and sustainable and compete with fashion brands on the high street.

Embrace seasonality

Peaks and troughs in the University retail space are normal, so embrace it. What have you done to plan for a Festive 2024 range or a Black Friday discount sale? Or maybe a new term kit. Shops that win in 2024 will build a calendar for 2024 and hit all the key dates with stock on the shelves and strong ideas to build engagement with the customer audience.

Cost of living

Don’t leave this out of your reckoning. Whilst an international student has the money to purchase the luxury product ranges, don’t leave half the audience unconsidered.