With market conditions presenting challenges for retailers left, right and centre, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything and figure out a business strategy that adapts to every potential problem you might be facing as a business. Missing a crucial piece of information can lead to clothes rails full of unsold items, or empty shelves at peak shopping times. It’s usually easier to explain disappointing results in retrospect, but we always need to adapt for the future based on this analysis. Why, then, do so few retailers invest in dealing with one of the top three commonly cited factors in driving customer demand – the weather?
In the UK especially, it’s notoriously difficult to predict and deal with weather conditions. Over the course of a year, we could expect to see wild variations, and these inevitably have an impact on people’s shopping choices – where they go, when they go, and what they buy. The Met Office conducted the research to confirm that so many businesses do cite the weather as an important factor that could make a difference to profits unexpectedly. But is it totally out of our control?
The answer might not be obvious. We can’t force the sun to come out because we have a warehouse full of sunglasses and shorts we need to promote, or magically summon a stock of umbrellas when the clouds roll in out of nowhere. What we can do is invest in high-quality commercial weather services to help predict what’s coming in a useful way. The Met Office found that more than half of retailers who use paid-for weather services are confident they’re able to offer better customer service, as well as plan stock and sales more accurately. However, the majority of retailers still find it easier to carry on regardless of weather forecasts, possibly without realising the potential benefits of simply making use of information that’s already available. Depending on your business, this could be invaluable.
So, how can you use weather forecasts to help make decisions on your shop fittings, retail displays and marketing plans? It could be tricky, although a wide range of products on offer like we have at Valentino’s Displays can be very helpful, even in the face of UK weather conditions. We have everything from pavement signs and A-boards to promote your shop in good weather, to display stands, clothing rails, mannequins and shelving for displaying your products all year round, plus great storage for anything else you can’t use in current conditions. Take a look through our online store and see what’s available to help you plan for the British weather.