Josh Rathour is the founder and chief executive of UNiDAYS, one of the UK’s fastest-growing websites that has a strong retail focus.
An entrepreneur by nature, Rathour worked as a real estate agent before taking the leap and establishing UNiDAYS – and one of its core aspects is the way in which it connects students with secure deals offered by retailers and well-known brands.
Headquartered in Nottingham, the company now has works with over 600 brands across 32 countries, with international offices in Silicon Valley, New York, Sydney and London.
In this week’s 5 Minutes With segment, he explains why students are a demographic that cannot be ignored or overlooked in retail.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before UNiDAYS.
Before UNiDAYS I ran a golf course but realised it was not for me after our mini excavator rolled down a hill – with me in it.
I also worked in real estate, and when I was a commercial property agent 10 years ago I acquired the offices we are in today. I’ve gone full circle – we now have the entire 25,000 sq ft building as our headquarters.
The inspiration for UNiDAYS came from my daughter, Asha, who was five years old at the time, when she told me she was worried about being safe on the internet and questioning how we really know who people are online.
That made me think about verification technology and if it was possible to create more trusted relationships between people and services online. From this, the UNiDAYS’ Student Affinity Network was born, so students and brands can do just that.
What are some of your general thoughts on the retail sector?
Retail is an incredibly dynamic industry and going through a significant period of change. Consumer expectations are higher than ever before. With immediate access to information, reviews and alternatives, shoppers today feel more empowered than those of previous generations. User experiences online and instore need to be more intuitive. Developments in augmented reality and virtual reality have created new opportunities to deliver immersive experiences that surprise and delight increasingly tech-savvy consumers.
Describe your responsibilities as CEO of UNiDAYS.
One of my core responsibilities is spearheading the development of UNiDAYS and future gazing for the business. After setting ambitions for the next five to 10 years, I then work closely with our talented team to ensure our current strategy and resources are focussed on building the most effective channel for brands to engage with the world’s 200 million university students.
How has your previous experience aided your current job?
My education in real estate valuation enhanced my passion for finding value in unexpected places. I brought this experience with me to create processes that enable companies to be profitable as they grow.
Can you explain the concept behind UNiDAYS?
UNiDAYS is the world’s leading Student Affinity Network that connects a verified global student audience with brands and services relevant to their lifestyle.
We developed the technology ourselves that enables us to verify 70 per cent (142 million) of the world’s student population – the connections made on the network are strong enough for brands to create lifetime affinities with active consumers and the future earners of tomorrow.
What are some interesting stats and insight you’re able to share this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend?
Black Friday, Student Saver Weekend and Cyber Monday have become fixtures in the retail calendar of our key regions. Over Black Friday wee