Four Reasons The Weather Impact on Consumers is Increasing

My (very smart!) colleagues at Blue Wolf interviewed me last week for this lofty sounding article and did what I would have thought impossible — they made me sound relatively cogent.

Well done, Taylor Price! 

You can read the full interview here  — (and thanks for the share @ericberridge)

In the interest of not burying the lead here are the four reasons that I called out —

Forecast accuracy: Consumers expect the forecasts to be correct and subsequently, plan their lives based on the data they receive.

Mobile access: We are connected to weather forecasts instantly, on-demand, and at all hours of the day. Access to weather information anywhere around the world allows businesses to adjust how they manage their supply chains, inventory, pricing, product assortment, promotions based on local weather forecasts.

Social media: Even mediocre weather events are now amplified to reach more people than ever before. Our awareness of extreme weather events is at an all-time high and can directly impact those who are indirectly impacted. For example, the California wildfires might motivate someone to buy fire retardant clothing.

Climate change: Increasingly volatile changes in the weather are impacting more people. The less predictable the weather, the more we want to rely on forecasts for a sense of certainty and stability.

For more color – direct from the horse’s mouth — below is a short (9-minute) video from an interview I did at a Shopper Insights conference in Chicago back in 2015.

This was before The Weather Company was acquired by IBM — if nothing else, I’m consistent!

 

My Weekly Weather Means Business Tweet Storm

Welcome to the very first edition of what I’m tentatively calling my weekly “weather means business” tweet storm.

As a matter of course I closely follow press reports and the twitter-verse for weather and business related content.  It’s my thing. It’s what I do.

My plan is to regularly collate my favorite stories and publish them here.

The goal is to post this every weekend but, since this is purely a labor of love and my weekend priorities are often not mine, it may be every weekend-ish.

At any rate, welcome to the first edition and feel free to reach out with questions or comments or, even better, links to great stories that I can include.

McDonalds Buys AI Tech (Note: Watch this Space!)


“It can know time of day, it can know weather. We can also have it understand what our service times are so it only suggests items that are easier to make in our peak hours,” said McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook.

The ultimate aim was to provide a “much more personalised experience” and to be able to suggest additional items based on the customer’s initial order, he added.

Also see — McDonalds Leverages IBM Watson Advertising to Drive In-Store Visits 

Retailers come in from the cold

Relatively mild weather and a very easy comparison combined to help drive an “unexpected’ spike in March retail sales in the UK.

I discussed this in my blog post last month:

Record February UK Warmth: Retail Boon or Fool’s Spring?

My guess at this point is that the “unexpected spike” in retail spending is in large part the result of the easy comparison to last year and the record warmth at the end of February which provided a tail wind into March.

The late Easter and very warm temperatures this week will help overcome the difficult comparison to last year and continue the strong sales trend in April.

But, the May / June weather comps may prove tougher sledding as retailers will have to overcome last year’s weather-driven sales surge.

U.S retail sales soared in March 

Weather wasn’t just driving sales in the UK, US retail sales “soared” in March also.

And again, I think this is at least partially due to the combination of a relatively easy comparison to March last year and a rebound from the terrible weather in February.

The March sales trend is another very strong tell that’s signaling a very positive April retail sales environment.

See: Expected Milder Spring a Godsend for U.S. Retail