Hurricane Harvey Devastation May Spare E-commerce
Hurricane Harvey may have a devastating impact on retailers this week. But e-commerce sales may rise with the tide.
Retailers are set to lose $1 billion due to Hurricane Harvey, reports weather analytics company Planalytics on Monday. (Opens as a PDF) And restaurants, malls, clothing stores and, surprisingly, home centers are among the businesses that won’t get that brick-and-mortar money back, Planalytics says. But what about e-commerce marketers? During other bad weather, online sales have increased almost 5 percent, according to IBM data.
Planalytics says of Harvey:
“The total impact will take place over time — not just now/this week. Following major weather events such as this, the economic impacts are felt in the coming weeks and months as consumers and businesses look to repair/rebuild based on their own individual situation.”
While not all bad weather is the same, a Feb. 2015 blizzard resulted in a nearly 5 percent increase in sales for e-commerce marketers, reported IBM.
As Target Marketing reported about a January 2016 blizzard in the Northeast, that particular bad weather meant the following possibilities for e-commerce and other marketers. (Brands may want to consider the severity of this storm before deploying or modifying these messages.)
- Financial Services Companies can suggest financial products for customers who want to "save for the bad weather," Daniel Lack posts on the Masterclass Blog in 2013. Perhaps a play on words? ("Save for a rainy day.")
- Auto Sellers can suggest selling or leasing vehicles. "You or your staff wouldn't be stuck with a 4×4." [Author's note: Gas prices may rise, considering refineries are being taken offline during the storm.]
- Clothing Retailers can offer "free next-day delivery on all coats and gloves, etc. " [Author’s note: This message was for a snowstorm. Harvey might mean different clothing choices.]
- Home Improvements. These marketers may not have to use the "prevention" angle after a bad storm. Maybe that roof should've been fixed before, but now it needs repair. [Author’s note: While this tip may apply to e-commerce sites during the storm, Planalytics does note that most of the lost brick-and-mortar sales will be during it — but not before and after. Planalytics: “Home Centers (Home Depot, Lowe's, Tractor Supply) likely had an increase in traffic before the storm and will aid in the clean-up efforts. In the peak of the storm, these chains also lose business as stores are closed and people are unable to leave their homes.” Target Marketing’s sister brand, Total Retail, reports on Monday that The Home Depot committed to helping with relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana.]
What do you think, marketers?
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