As the winds of change continue to bring new innovations, smart retailers are turning to an unexpected but effective ally to stay ahead of the game–weather data.
Weather fluctuations have a massive impact on the consumer buying behavior and sales outcomes. By harnessing the power of meteorological information, retailers can gain unprecedented insights into consumer behavior, inventory management, and even marketing strategies. From predicting demand for seasonal products to adjusting pricing based on the forecast–the possibilities for weatherproofing your retail business are endless.
However, the weather is a notoriously fickle and uncontrollable entity, and forecasters often need help to predict it beyond the next few weeks reliably. This makes finding the right source to gather weather data even more essential.
But before finding the right source, it’s important to understand the degree of weather’s effect.
For seasonal products–
Let’s take the example of a simple grocery store:
During the summer, customers are more likely to buy refreshing beverages like iced tea and lemonade. By analyzing weather data, the store can anticipate when a heatwave is expected and stock up on these items to meet the increased demand. Conversely, if a cold front is expected, the store can reduce its inventory of these items and stock up on hot drinks like tea and coffee instead.
Clearly, one of the biggest influences on sales is warm and sunny weather. If retailers can predict an early summer, they can bring in their summer lines much earlier than usual. This means beach clothing, camping equipment, and even FMCG products like ice cream, all of which sell adequately well when the weather is good.
However, warm weather doesn’t always imply stocking up. Warm winters can also cause a drop in seasonal products like blankets, gloves, fire logs, snow shovels, etc., making it extremely important to predict the weather accurately.
Similar patterns are seen during cold weather seasons. Cold weather often drives sales and profits. Some reasons include people stocking up on products, shopping online, and shopping indoors in malls during the winter season.
To illustrate, Lululemon is a retailer that specializes in athletic apparel. It has been using weather data to optimize its inventory management by stocking up on popular items during certain weather conditions. If a cold snap is expected, Lululemon will increase its inventory of jackets, leggings, and other cold-weather gear, which can lead to increased sales.
For non-seasonal products–
The impact of weather does not simply end with seasonal products.
When it comes to non-seasonal products, the scenario becomes increasingly complex and can depend on various factors such as consumer behavior, product type, and specific weather conditions.
Generally, extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, or storms can harm retail sales as consumers may be less likely to venture out to shop.
Hot weather can also impact retail sales, particularly for products that are not traditionally associated with warm weather. For example, sales of clothing and accessories may decline during hot summer months, while sales of seasonal products such as sunscreen, outdoor furniture, and barbeque equipment may increase.
On the other hand, mild weather conditions can sometimes lead to increased foot traffic and sales. For example, a sunny day with mild temperatures may encourage more people to shop and spend time outdoors, leading to higher retail sales.
If a product isn’t seasonal, that doesn’t exclude it from the effects of the weather–in fact, it is even more important to look into. In such cases, retailers must use highly accurate weather data to cross-analyze all the above variables.
Here are some of the practices that retailers can follow to capitalize on the weather:
Stocking inventory based on weather patterns: Retailers can use historical weather data to forecast future weather patterns and plan their inventory accordingly.
Adjusting pricing based on weather conditions: Retailers can adjust the prices of their products based on the weather conditions. For example, if the temperature drops suddenly, they can offer discounts on winter clothing to clear out the inventory quickly.
Using weather data to optimize supply chain management: Retailers can use weather data to optimize their supply chain management. For example, they can use weather forecasts to adjust delivery schedules, reroute shipments and avoid delays.
Improving marketing campaigns: Retailers can use weather data to improve their marketing campaigns by creating targeted ads and promotions based on the weather conditions.
Avoiding overstocking or understocking: Weather data can help retailers to avoid overstocking or understocking. For instance, if they know there will be a severe storm in a particular region, they can adjust their inventory levels to ensure that they have enough stock to meet demand but not so much that they will have excess inventory.
Get a complete picture of how retailers can use weather data to their advantage.
The good news is that Ambee’s APIs can help you achieve all that and more.
In our recent collaboration with Boots, a retail giant, they utilized our datasets to increase customer engagement and maximize sales. Boots' campaign saw higher CTRs and app retention while engaging people across the website and app with customized content and marketing.
Ambee provides both weather data and severe weather information for any location around the globe. Ambee’s accurate weather data empowers retailers to take weather considerations into their sales and operational decisions. If you’d like to understand more about how weather data can boost your retail operations, talk to our experts here Book a call