In 2017, we appear to be bombarded on a daily basis by tech stories that, only a few short years ago, would have appeared completely preposterous. Many of these innovations are also being spearheaded by the 'big three' consumer monoliths of Google, Apple and Amazon, who often seem to use such announcements as a means of one-upping each other, rather than to genuinely change the world. A case in point is the new 'weather-personalisation tool' recently launched by the latter online retail behemoth, which aims to tailor featured products on the store according to the local weather conditions of the browser.
The #NowItsSummer store is based on trends sales data from 2013-2016, and displays products such as sun cream, flip flops, and sunglasses. However, because British summer is notoriously unreliable, it also stocks umbrellas, anoraks and wellington boots. The store also offers products to Prime members in under an hour, so they can make 'emergency purchases' should the weather suddenly shift (as it regularly does). Customers can also find products based on new summer technology trends like portable BBQs, waterproof action cameras and high-tech tents.
Based on research data, Amazon found that summer-related products had a spike in sales of 380% on 4 June over the past three years, and it believes that’s when summer actually begins according to British people, rather than the official 20 June. However, the release of this research coinciding with this new store has left many to question whether this is merely another PR stunt, rather than a truly revolutionary marketing strategy.
Doug Gurr, Amazon UK Country Manager, said: “The weather reactive #NowItsSummer store has products, TV shows, music playlists and books that dynamically relate to the weather conditions. Whether the sun inspires you to get summer garden party essentials or you need a fresh playlist for a run, or you suddenly need a new pair of wellies or films to download on your tablet for a worrying festival weather outlook, the Amazon.co.uk #NowItsSummer store will offer everything you need to save the day.”
The weather-focused store even had its own fancy launch party last night (April 25) at The Grange Hotel's Sky Bar in London, with a performance from former X Factor contestant Louisa Johnson and a variety of summery products that will be featured on the store over the coming months. It all feels to me like a rather cheesy, albeit clever PR stunt, but then I have been wrong before.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK.
Michelle Huff, CMO at Act On
“I suspect Amazon's launch of a weather-based personalisation tool today is more a clever PR tactic than a high-level marketing strategy, however, it does highlight how the use of innovative data analytics and personalisation can transform the shopping experience and engage a customer. The days of “one size fits all” marketing are over. If you want to stay competitive now, you need to talk to different types of customers, in different situations, differently. Personalisation is one of the biggest trend in retail and marketing in 2017 as a shoppers experience is becoming as important as product and price. With the right technology personalisation can be integrated into any marketing strategy quickly and effectively.”