Online retailers: how to beat the snow

The atrocious weather conditions this week will no doubt have affected retail sales in the build up to Christmas, particularly on the high street as shoppers find themselves restricted to their homes (it will be interesting to see the impact on high street sales when figures are released in the coming weeks).

But the adverse conditions do present opportunities for online retailers, as it is likely customers will have time on their hands with their normal routines interrupted. With conditions expected to continue into next week (and beyond – it’s still only December!), we’ve been thinking about the ways in which online retailers can minimise the impact of the weather with a few quick-tips. Here goes…

Your website

  • Update your delivery information to reflect any changes due to the snow. It is better to be open and honest with your customers rather than maintain delivery promises that you may not be able to fulfill. If you are confident you are still able to deliver on time then shout about it on your home page
  • If relevant, upload some interesting content to your blog around how your products can be used in the snow, or alleviate the boredom of being snowed in. Fun or interesting content around such a hot topic has the potential to go viral

Your paid search activity

  • As the snow is such a hot topic of conversation, and if you can make it relevant, get creative with your ad copy by referencing the snow to encourage click through rates (CTR’s). Again, if you are able to offer a normal delivery service mention it in your ad copy as that is a real plus point for people affected by the snow
  • Some regions may be more adversely affected by the weather than others. If working to a limited budget, consider utilising geo-targeting options to focus budget on areas least affected where you can guarantee timely delivery

Social media

  • If you are utilising social media then this is the perfect tool to engage with your customers. Keep them up to date with delivery times and answer any queries where the answers may not be available on your standard information pages or where customers cannot get into a store to ask
  • Engage online with those complaining that things have arrived late or damaged due to the snow. It may not be your fault but if you can show you are responding publicly to concerns, customer loyalty will be positively affected
  • Take advantage of the current obsession with the weather by utilising relevant and popular hastags in your Twitter updates i.e. #uksnow. But only do so if there if the weather conditions are relevant to the tweet i.e. if you are talking about how the snow has impacted your ability to deliver on time. By doing so, you may capture additional traffic from social media users not previously aware of your brand

This weather is snow joke (sorry!) so consider these quick and low cost solutions to help minimise the negative impact during the busiest time of the year for online retailers.

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