In HookLogic’s latest analysis and outlook for the 2016 back-to-school selling season, online conversion rates starts to gain momentum in late June and peaks the first week in July.
Traffic, meanwhile, is more slow in gaining strength but then jumps in early August.
The performance marketing firm analyzed 2015 data that included close to one million transactions from its member network. The transactions totaled $100 million in sales. “Across all back-to-school items, traffic — as measured by product page views, or PPV — starts building slowly at the end of June, but starts picking up quickly in July,” the company said in its analysis. “It then remains strong through September. Conversion rate, conversely, starts stronger and then tapers off in September.”
Specifically, the conversion rate peaks at around 3.5 percent in the post holiday week in July while traffic rises to its highest level the first week in August.
“Several explanations are likely for the early conversion rate strength, including early discounts by retailers looking to lock sales in and eager consumers,” the researchers of the report noted. “Building traffic is clearly attributable to greater online searching by consumers as back-to-school product needs are identified — a trend that continues into the early school year as students fill in any product gaps — or new needs, when kids discover what everyone else has.”
The company said conversion rate tapering is “also indicative of school shopping checklists being completed.”
When examined by category, conversion rates also vary. “Electronics, which has become more of a year-round category with peaks during the holidays, sees a constant conversion rate during the b-t-s period, with the lower rates typically seen in higher-price point categories,” the report stated.
This compares to steeper peaks in conversion rates for school supplies that occur in June and July and an early jump for bedding in July. The results also revealed that traffic and conversions remained high even after school starts. “Peaks drive big sales, but valleys can offer competitive advantages,” the firm added.