6 ways the weather can affect your forecast
Sunny with an increased chance of sales?
We Brits love nothing more than talking about the weather – we’re world-famous for it. And with temperatures soaring throughout June and beyond, it’s hard to think about much else. But, stereotypes aside, the weather can have a big impact on your business, and not just in the ways you might think.
Logistics. Freak weather conditions are totally beyond our control, but can have a big impact on deliveries. Road closures, flooding, delays, high winds and more can all have a knock-on effect on deliveries, imports and exports, so it’s always worth checking what’s on the long range forecast and factor in some extra time if possible.
Bad weather is often responsible for delays in deliveries, ultimately affecting sales
Supply chain. Longer term weather conditions and climate change can affect the availability of raw materials, so it’s not just worth looking at global supplies of your staple materials in the long-term, it’s also worth being on the lookout for alternatives, especially for material like specialist woods which can take a long time to source.
Storage. If you rely on predominantly outdoor storage, it pays to be aware of the weather to avoid damage to water- or temperature-sensitive materials like untreated wood or ceramics. Effective stock-management and regular stock-takes will help minimise risk and potential lost profits.
Holidays. It might sound daft, but it’s always worth taking into account how seasonal weather patterns can affect the availability of your suppliers, staff and customers. School holidays, sunny bank holidays, snow days and unexpected sunny spells can all lead to more people taking time off, meaning you need to account for delays when working on your projections and timelines.
Holidays by staff, suppliers and even customers can all impact sales
Customer shopping trends. It’s probably no surprise that your decking materials, outdoor furniture, landscaping supplies or pergola sales will rocket when the sun comes out; looking at seasonal shopping trends will help you make sure your availability is better at the right times than your competition, keeping you one step ahead and your customers coming back for more. It’s worth taking some time to study what people buy more of when it’s hot or cold, both seasonally and more short-term, using your software analytics tools.
Customer habits. The weather doesn’t just influence what people buy – it can also impact when they’re buying it, even down to the time of day. Some customers report that they get far more customers than usual in the afternoons on a hot day, while others will see massive spikes in online or telephone orders when it’s wet or cold. Understanding when your customers are shopping helps you provide better service, whether through stocking the right products or making sure you’ve got more staff available at certain times of day.
Nothing is more frustrating as a business owner or sales manager than a missed trading opportunity. So taking the time to run those reports and understand how factors like the weather impact on your business is worth its weight in gold. There are loads of software tools which can help you, from automated stock level alerts to sales traffic analysis and product sales trends. Tracking these against weather can help you plan for the future, and put you a big step ahead of the competition.
Has the weather had an impact on your business? We’d love to hear from you if so! Or if you need a hand getting to grips with the analysis or reporting functions of Unitrade360 or UT400, just drop us a line and we’ll be more than happy to help.
In the meantime – enjoy the hot weather, and don’t forget the sun cream!