Today = Snowy Payday for E-commerce Marketers
Dry humor makes the point. Today’s precipitation prompted a friend of mine to ask yesterday, “Are you ready for this year's ‘Storm of the Century’?” About 50 million consumers bracing for an anticipated blizzard will probably bring a flurry of activity to e-commerce marketers.
When Northeasterners spend the day at home, e-commerce marketers see far more activity, IBM says. At about this time last year, Northeasterners were snowed in and Big Blue reported that online sales were 4.9 percent higher than e-commerce sales from the week before, when they were 19.7 percent of all U.S. Internet-based purchases. Marketers seeing the most activity are often financial services, auto and home improvement companies, IBM says.
The possibility of increased Web activity due to weather comes as the U.S. Census Bureau reports e-commerce sales have doubled as a percentage of all retail sales during the past six years.
“AccuWeather, a private forecaster, said areas from Charleston, West Virginia, to Boston could get heavy snow,” Reuters reported way back on Tuesday—a forecast that’s mirrored in Thursday’s news. “More than 50 million people could be affected.”
Some consumers may be perusing checklists like this one from CNN on Wednesday: “Fill up your gas tank, be sure the batteries in your flashlight and portable radio are fresh and stock up on nonperishable groceries. … The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having three days worth of water and foods like the ones that follow on hand, plus several other items that will keep you healthy and safe in an emergency.”
The list that follows includes advice to fill up bathtubs, buy apples and play board games.
Here’s what IBM says consumers actually do, and what marketers may want to do about it, according to a Target Marketing article from February 2015:
- 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."
- Clothing Retailers can offer "free next day delivery on all coats and gloves, etc. "
- Marketers Can Coordinate With Publishers to Get Products Featured. "Newburyport-based What to Wear," writes Sara Castellanos on Jan. 27, 2015, for the Boston Business Journal, "which offers email subscribers daily clothing suggestions based on the weather and other weather-related information, expects to see an increase in subscribers because of the snow, said founder and CEO Joshua Porter."
- 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.
What other weather-related advice do marketers follow?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Snow Day? ‘Yay,’ Say Marketers! Yes, Really.