Blame It On The Weather!

You hear it all of the time and whether it’s global warming or natural weather shifts, the swings are greater than we remember as kids. This past week in NYC, we saw temperatures of 0°F with snow that shifted to 55°F and rain a day later.

What’s curious about these shifting patterns is how the changing weather may create a new disturbance in consumer purchase patterns.

We’ve long seen correlations between consumer brick vs. click purchases influenced by weather patterns and retailers who lost out on ecommerce when their supply chains couldn’t adjust to unexpected downturns in weather.

Similarly, we’ve seen the blending of geolocation and weather to produce more customized real time relevant offers to consumers that quickly shift for that bowl of comforting soup over an ice cream sundae.

But what is intriguing is how these swift and large swings in temperature will impact consumer behavior data. We can look to predictive analytics to shed light, with historical trend analysis, retailer purchase transaction history, customer contact and marketing history overlaid with historical weather. Predictive analytics relies on historical data trends – past events forecast the future. But what if the overall trends are a break from the past, with rapid cycling?  It will be curious to see if these large and rapid swings of unseasonably warm and unseasonably cold negate each other or if the overall winner will still be ecommerce as consumers don’t like going shopping in the cold – or equally, in an unseasonably warm rain. For all of the big weather data available, perhaps it’s just one data value – precipitation – that determines purchase patterns and temperature is largely less important.

The weather forecast continues to predict 20° swings for the coming week. For now, we can look forward to building out the data to see if there is a new shifting purchase pattern developing that will provide retailers with new insights to forecast rapid weather shifts and the impact on their customer purchase patterns.

Pamela Veraart is the SVP | Group Head of C2G’s Analytics Practice.