Dreaming of a white Christmas

Christmas number blog series:1 fact for every day of Advent.- Day 6.

What are our chances of a white Christmas this year?

In the UK, it’s a solid chance of one in every 6 years. 

Love it or hate it, when it does snow – retail sales plummet. It’s not surprising, who wants to venture out shopping when you have the perfect excuse for reliving your childhood; building snowmen and overdosing on hot chocolate? For the child inside, check out this fun website www.willigetawhitechristmas.com where you can find out what your predicted snowfall will be.

But what about the economy?

Who can forget the 2012 British summer – said to be the wettest summer in 100 years. Sadly, we saw retailers like B&Q (part of the Kingfisher Group) wiping £25m off annual profits and at least a dozen other retailers blaming the weather for disappointing sales figures including Halfords, Greggs, Domino’s Pizza, Wm Morrison, and Debenhams.

Bad weather boosts positive online sales

What poor weather reflects is that more consumers are shopping online than ever before. The Christmas shopping season got off to a bumper start over the weekend, with record takings recorded as a result of last week’s American-style “Black Friday” promotions. With Mega Monday only just behind us, earlier indications from Visa Europe predict an overall £450 million spend online with 7.7 million transactions. This will make it Britain’s busiest day on record for cyber-shopping.

Rising consumer expectations and sophistication is driving the retailers into new sales and service platforms including; websites, mobile phones, social media, Internet couponing and third-party vendor relationships, among others. Certainly, this multichannel journey is picking up pace as retailers learn what works best for their customers.

I look forward to 2014 where successful retailers will be investing in brand engagement and customer interaction, regardless of platform (and the weather).