It’s that time of year again, when savvy retailers begin planning for the seasonal spending.
Just not in the way you might expect.
If you still associate “seasonal spending” with beaches, Black Fridays and twinkling lights, it’s time to expand how you think about seasons. Shopping behaviors aren’t just influenced by summer vacation and holidays. Some unexpected “seasons” bring about dramatic influences on what, how and where people buy:
- Economic development that draws shoppers away from one location and toward another
- Economic downturns that move families from one consumer classification to another
- Weather events or disasters that completely change shopping patterns
These conditions hit inconsistently, without warning, and take a serious toll on sales if you’re not prepared.
So how can you prepare if you can’t be sure of what is coming?
Use spatial analytics to prepare a contingency plan
With spatial analysis, you can identify location-specific trends and patterns to forecast how shopping habits change during unanticipated retail disruptions.
For example, consider a chain of hardware stores in the San Francisco Bay area. Spring and summer are typically times when garden tools and lawn care products fly off the shelves.
Until the state of California was hit by a serious drought.
Residents began neglecting lawns to compete in an ugliest yard contest to help conserve water.
Celebrities were publicly shamed for maintaining their landscaping.
Bucket sales soared as residents sought out ways to catch every last drop.
Suddenly, “seasonal spending” shifted. Shelves normally restocked with garden hoses and sprinklers wouldn’t need much replenishing. Homeowners were more likely to invest in the hardware and tools needed to fix leaky pipes and dripping sinks.
That’s where spatial analysis makes all the difference.
In this situation—one currently being faced by an eSite Analytics client—evaluating each store’s point-of-sale data reveals the information you need to anticipate shifts and adjust successfully. Operational managers can use spatial insights to create contingency plans for each store’s merchandise mix and marketing in dry times.
What unusual seasonal spending should stores anticipate?
Crop damage that could drive up food prices? Low snowfall that could eliminate the need for road salt? Road construction that will change how people drive past your locations on their ways to popular tourist destinations?
Whatever the circumstance, the time to plan is now. Spatial analytics makes it easy to create the forecasts and contingency plans you need to ensure success whatever the season brings.