Planning for Weather Pattern Disruptions within the Supply Chain Using WMS

It is obvious that weather impacts consumer behavior. Inclement weather persuades many shoppers to stay at home, perhaps choosing to patronize e-commerce stores over brick and mortar. And, of course, when it snows there is an uptick in demand for snow shovels and winter clothing. However, the impact of weather patterns on consumer behavior extends far beyond this, impacting shoppers’ moods and willingness to spend money in nuanced ways. To better understand the correlation between weather and shopping habits, one only needs to look towards robust warehouse management software.

Weather Changes Consumer Behavior

According to the British Retail Consortium, weather is the second biggest driver of consumer behavior behind the state of the economy. For example, sunlight has a large impact on the amount of money consumers are willing to spend. A Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services study found that shoppers are inclined to spend $4.61 for a green tea on a sunny day versus $3.35 in cloudy conditions. 

Chart displaying positive correlation between sunlight and consumer willingness to spend money

The implications of weather changes extend far beyond retail. Many sectors including energy, food and beverage, apparel, distribution, transport, and construction are all sensitive to weather disruptions.

The weather forecast impacts consumer behavior in three key areas: 

Buying Method. Desirable weather that encourages shoppers to get outside positively affect sales at brick-and-mortar retail stores. A 2012 study dug into the impacts of rain on online shopping. According to the results, cold or rainy days increased internet traffic to clothing, home, furniture, and wholesaler sites by 12%. Inversely, clear skies and warm weather drive more consumers to physical store locations.

Purchase Price. It is no surprise that conditions outside have a strong impact on consumers’ moods. Sunny days dramatically increase both consumption and willingness to spend more on certain items. A detailed study in Canada found that “temperature, humidity, snow fall, and, especially sunlight can massively influence consumer spending patterns and retail sales figures.” According to this study, shoppers spent 37% more on green tea and 56% more on gym memberships after sunlight exposure. In contrast, gloomy, cloudy weather prompts shoppers to spend more on alcohol, tobacco, and coffee.

Product Demand. During summer, when weather is more likely to produce warmth and clear skies, food retailers experience a 22% increase in demand for carbonated drinks and a 20% increase in demand for juice. According to a 2013 study, a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit prompts consumers to seek out these types of chilled beverages to combat heat. The same study found that in the United States, a single degree drop in weather increases consumer demand for soup, lip balm, and oatmeal – all comfort items in times of chilly weather.

The influence of weather on purchase methodology, consumer mood, and product choice is significant. Therefore, food and beverage manufacturers, brick and mortar retailers, and e-commerce shops should be cognizant and prepared for the impact of weather on sales.

Chart displaying positive correlation between rainy days and online shopping on home, big box, wholesale, and clothing retail sites
Source: “What Happens with Online Shopping When it Rains?”


How to Best Prepare for Sudden Consumer Behavior Shifts

Affected industries should prepare for these demand shifts by adjusting marketing campaigns in accordance with seasonality. Using familiar imagery for each season produces stronger sales results versus adhering to continuous advertising messages year-round. By incorporating seasonal marketing, businesses can harness the impact of weather on consumers’ changing tastes.

Additionally, warehouse management systems provide both in-house and third-party logistics companies the ability to prepare for sudden shifts in consumer preference. Seasonal inventory planning is unpredictable without proper technology. Warehouse management systems provide historical data from previous seasons, helping distribution centers prepare for sudden consumer demand based on weather. A good warehouse management software will take this information and move the inventory into fast moving positions. This information is vital in getting grater throughput. Managing peak is often a “combination of clever staffing and flexible processes enabled by technology. These solutions allow a user to flex up or down very quickly.” according to Logistics Management. Benefits of a high-quality WMS include:

  • Increased inventory visibility during peak season, allowing companies to accurately estimate supply and avoid backorders, slower shipping times, and dissatisfied customers.
  • Optimization of labor, including consideration for worker skill levels, physical proximity to equipment, and proper allocation of workers based on pressing warehouse tasks.
  • Streamlining internal warehouse operations, producing fast and accurate shipments by cutting out unnecessary or unproductive labor activity. This results in quicker delivery times, reduced operating costs, and more satisfied customers.


When integrated with warehouse automation in the form of automated picking and packing, warehouse management systems like WAMAS from SSI SCHAEFER are scalable, customizable solution capable of handling sudden increases in consumer demand.

Want more information? 

Interested in learning more? Contact a warehouse management expert from SSI SCHAEFER to learn how warehouse management software and automation could benefit your application.


Planning for Weather Pattern Disruptions within the Supply Chain Using WMS

Better understand the correlation between weather and shopping habits. Learn how to best prepare by utilizing warehouse management software.

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