If you are interested in or carry out e-retailing activity, you will appreciate how much weather influences all online activities from selling, buying and online marketing.

This winter the big chill affected most of the northern hemisphere; forcing people to stay indoors. High street retailers did whatever they could to hit their targets but all in vain as suggested by a report by Planalytics Inc; a firm that tracks the weather’s impact on retail transactions and store traffic. According to the report, all in-store retail traffic decreased by 4% in North America for a couple of weeks before Christmas compared to the same time last year. The trend was similar in most of the Britain and Europe. As in-store traffic declined, the online activity gained momentum which meant fierce online competition, as irrespective of where you are on the high street, online stores are all on one big network accessible from any corner of the world.

The graph from Google insight clearly depicts the difference from last season in search volume for the term ‘Christmas gifts’ for the UK.
Online Marketing

Consequentially, businesses start and push on their online marketing to increase on their conversion rates. If you are able to plan, create and implement an online marketing strategy that can channel this sudden increase in online activity.

Search Engine Optimisation

Organic search is a long term process so it would only be appropriate for more anticipated seasonal weather changes. Ideally an SEO campaign would deliver positive results when it is executed well in advance and before the weather is expected to change, but for sudden and extreme weather conditions that trigger steep troughs (as shown in the graph above), it is a little difficult to devise an SEO strategy to regulate and channel this traffic. However, there is always one thing that you can do and that is to create and optimise blogs with links to your e commerce product or services pages.

Paid search And The Weather

Paid search is a powerful platform as far as conversions are concerned. It would respond to these changes quickly and deliver immediately.

So for instance an online gift store can exploit a sudden drastic dip in temperature over Christmas by purchasing more paid ad impressions; promoting its online gift products and services. There is a noticeable difference in search volumes over the Christmas period from last season compared to this season. So, for an online store it would have been worth spending more on paid search this season.online marketing

Social Media

Social Media plays an important role in such circumstances. It is quite obvious that if you cannot be at the high street in person and have to look for alternative options online; the first source for your market research would be your trusted social network contacts. People get influenced by review sites and forums, which would reflect on your sales.  So to keep a track of activity over the social web, would not only give you better insight as to what people are looking for, but would also tailor your strategy accordingly. This would be done by using specific keywords to refer to your products and the general impression about your product and services.

Conclusion

Unexpected extreme changes in the weather definitely influences consumer behaviour and may encourage the use of e-commerce in certain cases; as we saw occur this Christmas. Weather conditions that may just interrupt normal functioning may have a positive effect on e-commerce. I think looking at the online activity this Christmas amid the big chill it would definitely be advisable to incorporate some element of weather consideration into our online marketing plans.

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