Welcome to the great British summer – with a deluge of rainfall hitting the length and breadth of the UK, severe weather warnings have been in overdrive.
It’s a challenging time for high street retailers during this time as they experience a drop in footfall when rain becomes the order of the day. A recent article in the Guardian reflected that a drop in retail sales volume of 2.3% was in part due to April 2012 being a wash-out because of heavy rain directly contributing to this monthly plunge in sales.
However it’s not all doom and gloom for retailers, especially if you sell seasonal products and what every household in the UK should own, the brolly. Fittingly, evidence of the first shop to retail the umbrella was based in Oxford Street, London which opened in 1830 by the company James Smith & Sons
Fast forward 180 years and retailing umbrellas has evolved dramatically. A quick search on Google for “Umbrellas“ lists a multitude of retailers listing a plethora of various sizes, shapes and colours of our nations must have accessory.
Now more than ever you need to differentiate yourself and create a buzz within a saturated market. Step forward www.loveumbrellas.co.uk – an online retailer who specialises in the good old brolly by adding a twist and their own unique selling point, “creating unique, beautiful umbrellas for any occasion”
Their exciting range of umbrellas and unique fit within this niche market sector is refreshingly not led by price but by offering something of added value to the customer, such as the ability to offer customisation for your favourite colour scheme or for a particular event you have planned, be it a wedding or sporting occasion you’re attending.
For any online retailer to capitalise on additional sales, factoring in the weather conditions to your analytics helps to make decisions in driving specific product lines that correlate to different weather parameters as proven in my previous posts on Pollen count and Pollen remedies or snow and winter clothing.
For product sales impacted by the rain, in this case umbrellas, there are a few tactics you can put in place to ensure you capitalise and below are a few thoughts…
Differentiate yourself from the competition
What’s your USP compared to the competition? Perform a Gap analysis on your competitors and identify ways to maximise your brand and product range? Try and be a little more creative than just offering the lowest price point, it’s not imaginative and it’s not a long term strategy.
So you have created a niche in the market place – it’s now time to focus on what digital tactics you want to implement to support your product
Set yourself up for Weather Alerts. There are a number weather providers that offer the facility to subscribe to email alerts associated with weather conditions affecting your product range.
A number of weather sites provide a forecast outlook. Use this to your advantage to plan in advance of changing weather patterns. Access and subscription to weather alerts will then provide you with actionable insights in driving the following digital tactics:
1) Affiliate Campaign
I mentioned in a previous post in creating a successful affiliate strategy, it’s essential to ensure you’ve created a targeted campaign around the product offering to your affiliate base focusing on such as:
*Set up and categorise the relevant rain affected products available and check stock inventory. There is nothing worse in creating a relevant category and not having sufficient stock to support your affiliate base.
*Communicate to your affiliates of the planned promotion and background due to the fact the specific weather patterns are expected to see an uplift in this product category.
*Are you looking to set a promotional commission rate and for how long? Has this been communicated to your affiliates?
Create a dedicated landing page associated with this product range that has been optimised to provide a clear path to conversion. Make sure you’ve included and provided the product range (with sufficient inventory levels), included pricepoints, input of product description and conversion to sale with a clear click to purchase route
*Search campaign – Pay Per Click
Perform keyword research on identified keywords associated with Umbrellas and set up a campaign group targeting associated keywords. Depending when to launch and pause the campaign would depend on your analysis of weather alerts and forecast information.
*Search campaign – SEO
From the creation of a dedicated landing page, look to optimise this page associated with the products and weather parameters dictating sales and create a link building strategy to target identified websites to deep-link to your product page.
*Email – Create a tailored campaign to target your customer base with key product lines and time the email delivery on your weather alerts so your potential customer receives the email in a timely fashion. Look to be creative in the email subject line to ensure appeal and achieve a healthy open rate and ensure the email features your range of targeted products
Social Media – The weather is one of our favourite subjects in the UK and there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved in promoting your product range through social media channels and be involved in discussions