Vendo’s View: Winter Storms Affect Conversions in the Northeast


So far this winter there have been three major storms in the Northeast. How did they affect conversions?

We’re going to call the storms by their real names since we like to be precise. (Until writing this we didn’t know that storms had names other than male/female, ex. Katrina).

The Late December 2015 Storm Complex

Starting in the South and Midwest (where it caused 30,000 cows to die and flooded highways, respectively) this storm hit the Northeast on December 29 and 30 with snow and freezing rain. People stayed home to avoid digging their cars out of the snow and driving on dangerously icy roads.

What affect did it have on conversions? Traffic was up by 15%, conversions were down by 20%. Why? Let’s see if a pattern emerges in the next two storms.

The Late January Blizzard 

This storm hit the Northeast on January 22 and 23 with snow and sleet. It stuck around for a few days. Governors of most states in the storm’s path declared states of emergency.

Surprisingly conversion rates were down again. Way down. We saw 30% drops in conversion compared with the two days before and the two days after. This dip takes into account expected increases in weekend conversions.

This is a counter intuitive result. We thought that people stuck inside would have nothing better to do than shop online. What explains a dip?

We did see a bump in traffic of 12% – so people could get online and did, they had electricity and an internet connection – but conversion rates were down 30%. What could explain this?

The key is a spike in bounce rates. They jumped 50% during the period of the storm. This points to more comparison shopping. When stuck inside people have more time on their hands and are looking at lots of different options before buying.

The Early February Winter Storm

Just two weeks later this storm hit the Northeast on February 4. Again traffic spiked and conversions dropped. The effect was similar to the previous storm. 14% increase in traffic, 25% decrease in conversion. Again the high bounce rate was the culprit.

Take Aways

What are the take aways? When a storm is coming focus on what you can do to reduce your bounce rate. You’ll have more traffic…but fewer sales unless you can get a shopper with lots of free time to commit.








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