One minute it is hot and the next you are cleaning out your closet looking for that jacket you wore last winter. It’s the time of the year when the weather is erratic. Last winter, it didn’t get cold until the end of January and early February! So what does this mean for local businesses in our quaint little town?
If there is one business that is seemingly unaffected throughout the seasons, it would have to be the bar business. Whether we are in a recession or not, our society is either drinking away their problems or celebrating some happy occasion. But even this business is affected when a huge snowstorm blows through – driving on the ice is hard enough, but doing it after a beer or two can change or end your life. And for the record, we at WeDames do not encourage drinking and driving during any season.
Last year, the nation faced a warmer-than-average winter, but that doesn’t mean we are out of the forest yet – after El Niño, there is always a La Niña which typically brings about drier and milder weather patterns.
Winter is approaching, and while many people chock this up to a lull in business activities, there are several organizations which boom during the winter months and those which are severely affected.
Business in Winter
Businesses that boom during winter include plumbing companies, coffee shops, salt producers (for salting frozen driveways) and natural gas/propane. Car battery sales also go up, especially after a few days of freezing weather.
Business which are affected by cold weather includes construction, both commercial and residential, lawn-care businesses, tourism-related activities (unless Springfield suddenly becomes famous for skiing),
Predicting the weather plays an enormous role in the world of advertising and marketing, too. Weather determines what products sell and which don’t, and it influences our moods when it comes to spending money. Even a one-degree shift in the temperature has dramatic effects on the sales of dozens of products.
- Both small and larger weather events will impact consumer purchases.
- Sears was able to determine that after 4 straight nights of severe cold, batteries that were 5 or more years old would die. Using predictors in their various locations, they then began a marketing campaign on the 3rd day of such a temperature trend to advertise special sales on batteries.
- Sports car dealers now know that a temperature of 75ᴼ with sun will increase their sales of convertible models. Likewise, SUV dealers know that sales of 4-wheel drive vehicles will climb with the first large snowstorm of the winter.
- In the fall, when temperatures, dip below 70ᴼ, sales of mousetraps rise, as consumers prepare for the inevitable migration of mice into warmer places for the winter.
- My favorite example of weather affecting the Campbell’s Soup began monitoring weather in 30 markets, and created a “misery index.” Whenever the weather turned cold, wet or snowy, causing the misery index to rise 5%, Campbell’s would ramp up chicken soup radio advertising in those locations – that’s just good business sense if you ask me.When that proved to be very successful, Advertising Age magazine reported that Campbell’s added a “flu-tracking” system, monitoring the movement of the flu across the nation, while implementing comfort-food advertising accordingly.
In summary, whether it is the weather or other factors which will affect consumer buying patterns this year, it may be a good idea to stay ahead of the game and look at seasonal trends and how they impact your inventory or services.
For many of us new or small businesses, we are going to have to weather through this years’ La Nina and may have to do some on-the-spot learning as we go, but luck seems to favor the prepared. Wishing you a happy and successful winter!