Supply Networks

CP brands — put the weather on your radar

weather consumer products

How’s this for a stat — 90 percent of all U.S. adults consume weather information on a weekly basis.  That would be a little over 287 million people.  If one golf ball represented each one of those people, you could cover the entire square mileage of New York City. In fact, you could do that nearly 25 times.

Weather isn’t merely something that we interact with when we walk outside of the doors of our homes.  Weather is a habit — a habit that touches every life, every single day.  The Weather Company, runs one of the world’s most used cloud data platforms, updating forecasts every 15 minutes for up to 2.2 billion locations, equating to approximately 20 billion forecasts per day.  The Weather Company has more than 200,000 reporting stations across the globe and touches more than 180 million consumers on a regular basis in some capacity.

This company is no joke.

Weather + IBM — a force of nature

At the beginning of this year, IBM acquired The Weather Company because, just as weather impacts the lives and decisions of the everyday “average Joe” and “average Jane,” weather also impacts the decisions and bottom lines of companies across all industries.  The Weather Company currently offers data-driven products and services to more than 5,000 clients cross-industry, across the globe.

The Weather Company is the backbone of IBM’s IoT strategy, with these 200,000 personal weather stations across the globe all collecting data from multiple sensors. These sensors detect barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, wind speed and direction and other factors.

These sensors and stations can enable companies to better anticipate and act on extremely accurate weather conditions, consolidating 162 different weather models into one. Traditionally, weather forecasts have been gathered from local airports. However, with the high number of weather stations, weather can now be forecasted at an extremely hyper-local level.  This is a gamechanger for companies, since weather conditions can vary by neighborhood — especially in urban areas.

Weather + IBM + brands — time to bring the goods

Speaking of neighborhood-level forecasts, let’s take a pivot to the Consumer Products Industry. How can The Weather Company partnership make brand operations as optimized as ever?

Well, as if it wasn’t obvious by now, consumer products companies should look no further than the timeless struggle to give customers what they want, when they want it — which, until now, has largely been a game of wit and “trusting your gut.” Granted, there’s a science to it as well — combining these instincts with historical transactional data and other data sources.

But now, by adding this newfound weather data into the mix, brands can now meet needs at a neighborhood level with extremely localized weather forecasts.  They can use weather data to finally get a little bit closer to answering what customers will want to buy and when.

With the weather solutions suite, businesses can understand how weather affects consumer buying habits. They can better manage inventory allocation and operations and can geo-target advertising based on weather patterns — the latter of which was just rolled out by the Campbell’s Soup company.  Campbell’s knows there’s nothing that pairs better with a snowy day than a hot cup of soup.  Campbell’s can now tailor advertising to those consumers.

This data is even further enhanced when combined with neighborhood-level data like local events and social media data to better understand each store’s target audience. This can be facilitated through a new IBM solution called Metro Pulse, which can combine these data sources and turn the data into recommendations for meeting demand.

Use the data — all of it

Even getting remotely closer to matching supply with demand can save brands millions of dollars on a yearly basis, and they can potentially meet this goal by utilizing weather data.  These days, brands must tap into all available data to gain a competitive advantage.

Maybe it’s time your company put weather on your radar.

Click here for more information on The Weather Company. To get more information on how your retail organization can harness the weather to better your operations, be sure to visit us in booth #1720 at this year’s National Retail Federation Big Show, January 15 through 17 in New York City.

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