Will a Cool Summer Spike Fall Sales Volume?

Weather can certainly play a role in sales volume — an adverse event, like a hurricane, can spur pre-storm sales but lead to a loss in sales days after the weather event. What about less abrupt weather trends? Like a cool summer?

The summer of 2013 has been, for the most part, a mild one and it appears to have affected retailer sales volumes. But the cooler weather could now play a different role as we head into the back-to-school season — spurred by the weather, consumers may be more likely to start purchasing fall items. 

How can you prepare for short- and long-term weather events? Look at historical data, particularly around weather events. Examine your POS data to see what insights you gain into pre and post storm shopping behaviors. Did you experience a drought last year? Take note of the shopping trends specific to that event and file those insights away for the next stretch of dry days. Did you have to offer discounted prices and promotions to get consumers back into the stores after a blizzard or hurricane? During a stretch of hotter than usual temperatures, did spending rise as people flocked to the stores to purchase items that helped them battle the heat? You'll be surprised at what you can find if you start tracking weather patterns and relate them to your POS data. You might want to start making a practice of it. 

Be certain to look at inventory levels as well. Did you experience a build up of inventory that was particularly troublesome? What instocks occurred and can you take steps to ensure that those items are on the shelf and in the cart the next time? What items seemed to sail right off the shelves prior to the weather event?  

Also, don’t forget to look at online sales which can be affected by power outages in adverse conditions. If there were power outages, did you see a rise in in-store traffic?

For more insights into promotions, POS and weather read our Insight Series: Weathering Promotions.