It may only be July and only a few weeks into summer vacation, but according to office supply companies, it’s back-to-school time already. Looking at the trends from the past years, the unique visitors (UVs) of the leading companies in the industry began their rise in July, peaking in the month of August. Taking this into account, it makes sense why office supply retailers begin their back-to-school promotions in July.
The clear leader in the online race, Staples, Inc. has already announced several sales campaigns in order to fully take advantage of the back-to-school season. They released a press release announcing this season’s multipronged effort: the grand opening of their best-selling season with the ringing of the NASDAQ “First Bell,” the start of their annual Back-to-School Savings Pass, and the introduction to the #StaplesHasIt campaign. The company’s retail locations have already been redecorated with advertisements of school supplies and began the hiring process for temporary employees to work the registers and help stock the shelves solely for the back-to-school season. The online advertisements promote their annual exclusive Back-to-School penny sales and encourage parents to “send them back to school in style.”
Interestingly, looking at the average stay, Staples has not always held the crown in office supplier online presence. Office Depot ranked much higher, having customers remain on their site for an average value of 8 minutes, 25 seconds back in the peak of 2011. Now, they rank fairly close in time. Another glance at this data, the average stay does not behave as smoothly as UVs. Rather than a steady increase as with unique visitors, there is actually a decrease – a trend that continues until the end of 2012. This could be due to the increased press for time, or simply the preference to purchase school supplies in-store. Whatever the case, there has been a positive trend since—possibly indicating the effectiveness of their online campaigns.
If you haven’t already begun crossing off items on your back-to-school lists, you better grab your savings passes and begin to take advantage of all of the sales – after all, there are only two months of summer left! As for us at Compete, we’ll be keeping an eye out for this season’s numbers.
Lauren joins the Compete team as the Data Analyst Co-op within the Data and Research department. She is in her third year studying mathematics at Northeastern University, with a minor in mechanical engineering. Connect with her on LinkedIn.