Want to capture more customer dollars despite the weather taking place outside your store doors? Whether it’s rain or shine, snow or hail, cold or hot or anything in between, prepare your store to cater to tourists and visitors all year-round despite weather conditions.

#1. Weather Can Help Drive Traffic Into Your Retail Business  

 Tourists that filter in and out of stores often do so in response to the immediate weather taking place. A beautiful day is often the perfect day to stroll in and out of stores, but it’s often just as ideal to shop versus play when the weather may be less than perfect. Cater to your guests that are shopping due to weather inspired conditions by offering lite bites, refreshing or soothing drinks (lemonade vs. hot cocoa, for example) and a friendly environment that encourages customers to linger and enjoy your store. Don’t overlook this entertaining aspect as an opportunity to dismiss sales goals, though. Through strong merchandising and inventory assortment – in combination with a welcoming store experience – you can increase the chance of your customers spending money in your retail space. Stores based in colder environments, for example, should offer scarves, hats, sweatshirts, and jackets that are name-dropped with their tourist destination to help push sales. Don’t forget to strategically place a mirror by these items so your guests can try them on, as well! The key takeaway is this… provide items to your customers that are in direct response to the weather of your store while also delivering an experience within your store that will keep your customers engaged and entertained.

 

#2: Weather Is Critical in Inventory Planning Efforts

 Retailers do not have the luxury of choosing weather patterns to complement their stores hours or customer preferences. They do, however, have the opportunity to plan ahead for rainy days and less-than-ideal weather scenarios to help boost their store sales in response to the weather taking place. Among the best ways to do this is to identify inventory well in advance that not only supports various weather conditions but also delivers to customer needs, wants and local attractions. Umbrellas that feature the latest must-have licensed cartoons and action figures – such as Disney characters or Marvel action figures – cater to your youngest guests year-round. Meanwhile, consider how name-drop merchandise such as raincoats, hats, and scarves can become a customer favorite souvenir while still supporting your customers in response to weather. To help identify items that can boost sales for your stores despite weather conditions, explore inventory at IGES – an annual gift show held in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee.

 

#3: Weather Offers Retailers the Chance to Differentiate Themselves from Competition

Colm O’Brien of IBM explains that retailers should “act with agility and differentiate from competition with truly personalized promotions, product mixes, more responsive supply chains, greater visibility into out of stock situations and much more.” Keeping this in mind, it’s important for merchants to introduce items into their inventory assortment that separates them from their local competition when it comes to weather inspired items. Travelers, after all, don’t always plan ahead when it comes to packing apparel essentials for sunny, rainy, cold or even extraordinarily hot days. Be sure your store does plan ahead, however, to accommodate these travelers. Hotel and resort shops, for example, should provide everything from sunblock to soothing lotion in case of a sunburn while also providing customers items in a variety of price points to ensure you are capturing dollars from all prospective customers.

 

At the end of the day, tourists want to reflect back on their trip as having been a success… rain or shine. If your store helps to adjust to the needs and wants of your customers despite the weather, you will be better positioned to not only help your customers reach this goal but also help your store reach stronger sales. To help, remember that when providing weather inspired inventory to your store guests you want to also provide the items that will remind them of their vacation or trip.  Offering a dynamic inventory assortment such as customizable apparel, souvenirs, novelty items and so much more can help you do this. Find the perfect blend of inventory that supports your store during all seasons, all year long at IGES from November 3-6 in Sevierville, TN.

By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

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