Heat is on for August
Hotter than normal temperatures and drier conditions across almost all of the United States in August will keep a summer feeling going into what has traditionally been the kick off to the fall shopping season. That means marketers are going to have to work a little bit harder than usual in August to get consumers in the shopping mood.
With careful planning, they can avoid falling into promotional habits that are misaligned with Mother Nature.
1. Keep summer inventory handy As the Fourth of July holiday becomes a memory it’s tempting to reduce summer inventory but that would be a mistake. Consumers will have an extended desire for warm weather clothing, outdoor gear and BBQ supplies into the start of what we have traditionally considered fall shopping season.
2. Creative promotions will be needed While Back to School will certainly drive sales, the warmer and dryer than normal weather will likely delay August shopping for traditional fall attire and shoes. Enticing shoppers into stores, and away from their cash, is going to take a creative promotions strategy that creates an urgency to shop now, rather than wait.
3. Give a break from the heat There are only so many cold drinks shoppers can consume before they seek refuge in air-conditioned respites. Retailers can use consumer desire to get out of the heat by hosting community activities that draw people inside. Get creative! Snow cones, sand art, even live music can bring shoppers out of their homes and into stores.
4. Extend warm-weather personal care items Even those who worship the sun are going to have their endurance tested. Warm, dry weather drives demand for sun care products, lotions and other potions designed to keep skin healthy.
Gear Up for stronger September apparel sales
Post August, marketers have two opportunities for an extra boost in sales.
First, September won’t hit the peak heat of 2015. Last year we experienced the second warmest September on record. Although September 2016 will be warmer than usual when, contrasted with last year’s record breaker marketers can expect consumer behavior to be more typically fall like. This is good news for retailers who look to boost fall apparel and back to school sales.
Second, marketers have another opportunity to capitalize on the weather when late September mornings are cooler and October brings relief from the heat. This year the traditional cool down will feel even sharper than usual when contrasted against the very warm summer season we experienced across the nation. This will drive consumers to feel excited for change and eager to shop. Marketers who want to tap into these emotions should time campaigns (time of day, day of week) to coincide with bursts of cooler weather. This is particular true in September when slightly cooler mornings may give rise to hot afternoons.
Want to learn more? Watch weather analyst Paul Walsh explain why retailers are in for strong September sales here.