In the article below, RetailWire talks with Weather Expert Paul Walsh on customer behavior, and what retailers are doing to balance things out.
“What almost always happens when you get a big event like this is you really see three phases from a retailer perspective,” Walsh told Retail Dive. “Actually, it’s really from a consumer perspective, and the retailers’ job is to be ready for their customers’ needs.”
Retailers don’t lose or gain sales as weather events hit, unless their supply chain is not prepared for the push ahead of the event. What this signals is that retailers are getting out ahead of these events using weather data, and suppliers are being increasingly asked to help anticipate supply chain strains ahead of the curve as well.
“The weather ate my homework” is no longer going to be a viable excuse in the coming months and years. There will be an expectation that a supplier network will need to be out ahead of this. It won’t matter if you are a top tier supplier maximizing your category, a mid-tier supplier scratching and clawing for their business every day, or a small supplier just trying to keep up. The forecasting models are becoming more and more accurate. Not having your products attributed to weather sensitivity will be a hindrance.
It’s also important to consider “just weather data” may not be enough. Feature engineering both the weather data to tailor it to your products and your products attributes may be required to extract enough insights as to what weather patterns and events are effecting your sales. Make sure you have people on board that can do this with your data, and it may take some experimentation, since no two product assortments are the same. Having the data at the same level as your geography dimension also helps take some of the burden off of your analytics platform. Its a lot of data, and most of it comes at the weather station level.
Have I mentioned yet that we can do this for you? We can provide weather data at the zip code level, and we have experts on staff that can help with your feature engineering, as well as your reporting and data mining.
You can read the whole article here
Please contact us today to see how we can help you with your BI weather challenges.
Consumer Goods Technology came out with a whitepaper today on Bridging the Data Divide. In this whitepaper is a quote from Gordon Wade, senior vice president of category management best practices at the Category Management Association (CMA):
“Every category manager, whether at a retailer or a manufacturer, has more data than anyone could possibly review, much less analyze and understand,”
The paper also goes on to discuss some very neat things people are doing with mobile and shopping data to simulate store sales and people movements through aisle changes and shopper personalization. This might be the beginning of the tidal wave that is coming. My question to you is – what is your data strategy? Are you feeling like you are already drowning in data? The goal is not to drown retailers or suppliers, but to find ways to integrate data that will keep your business floating in the short and long term future.
It is clear that the ability to combine new data sources in innovative, cohesive ways will be integral to grocery and CPG success. We can help with that. Store sales and inventory, weather, demographics, store traits, social media, supply chain – we combine all of this into powerful, user driven analytics in a drag-n-drop, build your own reporting and dashboard environment. We are also willing to take in your specific data sources to give you a complete picture of your business, and apply statistical models for predictive metrics to your data for even more insights.
Please contact us today to see how we can help you out of your data deluge.
This very interesting article on Forbes.com yesterday reminds those of us who live and work in the shadow of the Walmart Home Office that there are areas where there is no Walmart store.
New York City is one such area – no Walmart exists within the five boroughs. The mayor and most of the city council oppose Walmart entering NYC.
As the article points out – “25 percent of respondents go to the suburbs to shop Walmart stores. And it is obvious that many New Yorkers go to the burbs to shop other big box stores, discounters and outlet malls.”
The arguments against Walmart remain the same – and each one is Luddite in nature.
- Walmart pays low wages. There is no denying that Walmart pay and benefits are modest by comparison, especially at the part-time and entry levels. However, for people who just want jobs Walmart is the perfect place to start and learn retail. And, Walmart hires from the communities around its stores. Since the retailer appeals to middle to low income shoppers this means that those who need opportunity the most can find it – with the chance to move up the ladder in position and pay. Additionally, those opposed to Walmart based on pay fail to look at the comparison of revenue per associate with other “high paying” companies – Walmart is at the low end of that scale. And the margin of profit is much lower for Walmart, compared to other Fortune 500 companies, so there is a smaller pie to slice. However, lower margins means lower prices – great for the consumers.
- Walmart is anti-union. Walmart has worked actively against unionization of its workforce throughout its history. Advocates of unions fail to demonstrate the benefit to their workforce. By artificially raising the cost of labor unions in private industry have reduced available jobs so fewer people are working. When the best hand-out is a hand-up through job opportunities how is limiting the number of jobs available helping the unemployed find skill training through work?
- Walmart is hurting small, local businesses. On April 1, 1975 Walmart store #85 opened in my hometown. Before then, only small, family-owned stores were available for items like hardware and clothing. My mother drove my sister and I over 30 miles to the state capitol to shop at the large retail chains (primarily JCPenny for school clothes since her first job was as a clerk at JCP). The local department store simply charged prices that were too high for my budget-minded parents. Yes – after Walmart opened those businesses lost revenue and, over time, most eventually went out business. What the critics fail to acknowledge is that Walmart has always offered lower prices for the budget minded. As to the jobs lost through the shutdown of small, local business – Walmart more than made up for that by hiring more people than what was lost – and the part-timer had greater flexibility in the hours worked – the full-timer has opportunity for advancement that were not available through family-owned stores. When was the last time a store owner promoted a talented, ambitious person over his son?
I have never understood the resistance to a retailer like Walmart, which achieved its success through competing for the hearts, minds and wallets of the consumer. And it must still compete today or go the way of Sears. The consumer is always the winner and should always foremost in the minds of the political elite.
Should these elitists have their way and force Walmart to change its model in any or all the points above then the inevitable result will be higher prices to the consumer. Essentially – a hidden tax to protect constituent groups these politicians depend on for power.
Why is this important to category managers and sales analysts? When the retailer you partner with is arbitrarily blocked from entering certain “political zones” you have fewer outlets through which to efficiently distribute your product.
The bottom line is – your brand loses – the retailer loses – and most importantly – the consumer loses through higher prices and fewer choices.
And that’s just my opinion.
Source: NYC Shoppers (Still) Want Walmart
Over the weekend a lot has been made about Amazon topping Walmart in market value. This is the second time in two months an online based company has surpassed Walmart. Last month Facebook moved above Walmart and pushed the retailer out of the Top 10 list of the Forbes 500.
While Walmart has a much larger revenue and profit than these online centric companies, the concern is the slowing revenue and profit growth with the large fixed cost of the huge scale infrastructure.
Below is an interesting article highlighting the shift in retailing by comparing Amazon to Walmart now that the Amazon market value exceeds that of Walmart.
Source: Bigger Is Not Always Better – Why Amazon Is Worth More Than Walmart
The retail giant announced Friday that it has launched its own e-commerce grocery shopping service at all its Ottawa locations and in some outlying stores as well.
“For us, when we talk to our customers, we realize that absolutely, people are time-starved today. An hour today is worth way more than it was 10 years ago,” said Simon Rodrigue, Wal-Mart Canada’s senior vice-president, e-commerce.
This is Wal-Mart’s first foray into grocery shopping online in Canada. Mr. Rodrigue said the retailer chose Ottawa because it has found the city to be very receptive to previous e-commerce initiatives.
“I think second, Ottawa is that perfect blend of education with the universities, it has a high-tech base and from a demographic perspective, there are a lot of families,” he added.
Mr. Rodrigue said online shopping is the future of grocery retailing.
“Our customers have been telling us they wanted it,” he said. “Wal-Mart is really targeting for our customers to buy what they want, when they want, where they want, and I think the grocery home shopping is a key part of that. It’s one of the key initiatives.”
Source: Wal-Mart Canada chooses Ottawa for online grocery shopping launch