American Express will launch a campaign Tuesday to promote a college book buyback program through Chegg that ties online ads into offline returns and electronic refunds in a prepaid AMEX account through the company's Serve program.
The campaign supports online ads, co-branded emails to Chegg customers, and placement in the company's student newsletter. The American Express campaign will run at least through the year, increasing momentum from now through June, and again in December and January 2014.
The Chegg Web site, which allows students to buy and buy back college books, connects students with the AMEX service to gain access to the funds within 24 hours after processing the return through the Serve program. The process works when a student visits the Chegg site, requests and agrees to a price for the book they want to sell, and prints a shipping label to send it back.
The Serve program aims to teach students about smart spending. Stefan Happ, senior vice president and general manager of online and mobile at American Express, said the college demographic 18-24 continues to become an important customer base for AMEX. "Chegg supports about one-third of the college students in the United States," he said.
Happ believes the exclusive buyback program partner will remain the best way to market services to student, as well as keep them as long-term customers. The refund from selling the books to Chegg gets deposited into a Serve account that remains. "Students participating in the program receive a $10 bonus, so you now have funds on the prepaid account they can use to purchase elsewhere," he said.
Based on recent research, Chegg found that college students spend an estimated $750 monthly on items like groceries, personal care, fast food, movies, and clothing. Students actively monitor the amount they spend, scrimping on some purchases to splurge on others. Debt -- particularly student debt -- remains top of mind, in college and after graduation.
While in college. they develop brand preferences. Some 68% of college students use a different shampoo then they did in high school, finding their own preferences, rather than relying on their parents. They also begin to have a significant influence on the purchases of family and friends, according to Elizabeth Harz, Chegg, vice president of business development.
Chegg also connects students with research scholarships, courses and study guides. It works with brands like RedBull, Microsoft, NastyGal and others. Some brands wrap the box that ships the books with an ad, while others allow students to download the first few chapters of the book to "read while they wait" for the one that will come in the mail.