Good retail weather and m-commerce ramp up Christmas fashion sales

David Bird

David Bird, Insights Analyst – Weather Channel Global Media Ltd

A number of clothing retailers have already reported their Christmas results for 2014. Two key themes so far have emerged: the first is that the clothing sector picked up during the festive period, sales for many were over and above those of the previous year. Secondly, the growing importance of multi-channel retail at Christmas.

Weather created opportunities for UK retailers at Christmas

The mild and sunny weather over December was generally very conducive to the retail market at

Christmas, across all sectors. These are the weather conditions which are generally favourable for

driving footfall into stores, and they also keep consumer heating and fuel bills low, freeing up

discretionary spend. Moreover, continued low interest rates in the UK and low fuel prices over the

Yuletide period created an “additional tail wind”.

A generally mild, sunny, if wet, Christmas

Over most of December the weather came from the west, from the Atlantic, and UK temperatures were milder (0.5 degrees Celsius) than the seasonal average (4.4 degree Celsius). Moreover, sunshine was well above the norm, indeed it was the second sunniest December since 1929. Why is this important? Well, Nielsen estimates that 20 per cent of all Christmas spending is done in the final two weeks before Christmas, and above average temperatures and sunny weather means shoppers head out and about.

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Using weather to drive a multi-channel retail experience

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David Bird, Weather Analyst at The Weather Channe

 

Having a weather strategy is a crucial part of an effective multichannel retail offering. Weather-based marketing can create a consistent tone and message across multiple consumer brand touchpoints to drive customer engagement. Owing to its “mobile first” strategy, The Weather Channel offers a number of high-quality native ad solutions that help retailers make weather a key part of its consumer facing marketing strategy.

M-commerce is winning in the UK e-retail market.

A number of studies have consistently identified the UK as one of the most advanced e-commerce markets globally, It is the largest e-commerce retail market in real terms in Europe, with one of the highest retail spends per capita. Moreover, one of the most notable shifts within e-commerce is the shift to m-commerce. A recent study by E-marketer estimates that in the UK, 52% of all retail website visits are from a mobile device and 26% of all e-commerce retail sales are now m-commerce; and within that, tablet commerce accounts for an ever greater proportion. Effective advertising on mobile devices is therefore vitally important for retailers in the UK to maintain their share of voice and remain top of mind, as the shopper journey evolves.

Maintaining a consistent consumer experience across digital platforms is vital.

One of the key challenges confronting retailers with their marketing in the new digitally-driven climate of retail is consistency across multiple consumer touch points. According to a recent study by Retail Week, approximately half of consumers feel there is insufficient consistency between their online and offline offering when it comes to pricing, branding, customer service levels and product range.

It is always important to recognise that consumers see brands, not channels, when shopping and demand a consistent brand experience. As a consequence, retailers must create a seamless shopping experience that is channel agnostic, and digital weather-based marketing campaigns can help brands deliver a consistent message which permeates through the digital space. Here’s how…

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