Let it snow (unless you’re Amazon)

Do you remember the massive freeze in the UK this time last year? Nobody was going anywhere. If you’ve forgotten, check out the weather charts here, and note that the temperature high was 1c in London (the warmest bit of the UK) and the low went down to -17c in Wales. It was freaking freezing, and the roads were not usable.

All this had a very painful effect on online retail. Take a look at the chart below, which shows daily UK Google searches for “Amazon” in 2010 (red line) vs 2011 to date (blue line).

Amazon searches on Google

As soon as the roads froze last year, online Christmas shopping tanked, as retailers couldn’t guarantee Christmas delivery. Those retailers missed out on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year, no doubt to the benefit of whatever local shops were within walking distance. I bet some people got weird presents last year as a result.

External factors like weather can kill your business results, or make them be great, depending on your situation. If I were Amazon, I’d have spent plenty on weather forecasts this year before buying any Christmas advertising.

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