Online Companies Target College Students

As 16 to 24 year-olds continue to emerge as a dominant e-commerce force, Student Advantage, Inc. and Embark.com have staked a claim to the Internet-savvy college market.

Student Advantage (Nasdaq: STAD), which recently formed a strategic alliance with Barnes & Noble’s textbooks.com online retail site, markets a variety of products and membership services to college students. The company plans to launch a new marketing campaign, incorporating online promotions and traditional advertising venues to reach more than 1 million students across the country.

The campaign will send 250 sales reps to college campuses to promote textbooks.com’s benefits over buying books from the local college bookstore — primarily prices up to 50 percent lower than list and the convenience of shopping from home.

Bargain Books

Through its exclusive link to barnesandnoble.com., textbooks.com offers more than six million new and used textbooks, plus millions of new, used and bargain books. The service also features flat-rate delivery and a cash buyback policy.

In addition to pitching the online textbook retailer through on-campus events, Student Advantage will cross-promote textbooks.com on its own Web site, studentadvantage.com. Visitors to studentadvantage.com will have direct access to textbooks.com and barnesandnoble.com’s inventories. Student Advantage members will receive a 10 percent discount on top of textbooks.com’s discount prices.

Everything Else

Meanwhile, school-related supplies retailer CollegeEdge changed its name to Embark.com and added an online store to its current student information Web site. The new store offers everything else students need when they are done with the bookstore, including cordless phones, radios and electronic organizers. It also offers everything new students need to show off their school – T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and dorm furniture. In addition, parents, family and friends can buy care packages and gifts to be delivered to the students.

Embark.com provides help for college-bound students who are choosing and applying to schools. More than 500 undergraduate and graduate programs around the world, as well as thousands of high schools and community programs, contribute to the information available on Embark.com’s site. Excite@Home, Lycos, Inc. and U.S. News and World Report are also contributors.

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