With all the talk of Hurricane Irene, I was just thinking about how the hurricane was going to affect businesses, particularly small businesses. And then I came across this article in Ad Age.
The reason I was thinking about this topic is because I just visited my brother’s new ice cream shop in Howell NJ, Shivers Ice Cream. The hurricane is more than likely going to make this quite a slow weekend for them. They do not expect to see a steady stream of customers braving the weather just to get some ice cream. And Shivers was scrambling to find a generator to protect themselves from a power outage and losing all the ice cream, ice cream cakes and already prepared items like the ice cream cupcakes and sandwiches that they have in their freezers.
Then I saw the Ad Age article about the retailers like Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot, who were doing a brisk business from North Carolina to New Jersey as a result of a deluge of purchases of hurricane-readiness products. I know Shivers was having a difficult time finding a generator but finally found one. They even called Lowe’s at 5:00am because a new shipment of 200 generators was expected to arrive, and they were sold out within 10 minutes! That’s definitely doing a brisk business.
Unfortunately for businesses like restaurants, clothing stores and summer-related businesses, the loss of business this weekend is going to make quite a dent in their numbers. Up and down the east coast was supposed to be many, many residents and vacationers enjoying their last two weekends of summer beach weather. Now one of those weekends is gone, due to Irene. And this is business you can’t really make up—high season is high season and nothing will change that. The opportunity is lost.
Some retail businesses that were counting on 2 weeks of “back-to-school” sales will probably be able to recoup some or most of that business—kids are going back to school regardless and the supplies need to be purchases, whether it happens this week or next week. But it still makes for a difficult weekend of conducting business.
I found the article interesting for a couple of reasons:
- The various measures taken by businesses, in the position to provide products for emergency hurricane needs, to be sure they would be able to be fully stocked
- The content they created to guide customers through to survival of the hurricane
- The use of multiple communications methods, such as Twitter, blogs and press releases
I would venture a guess these businesses were well prepared because they probably included activities like these in their marketing plans.
Read the article from Ad Age:
Which Retailers Will Hurricane Irene Help, and Which Will It Hurt?
Please contact Anna Brice at Pinnacle Peak Marketing, Scottsdale AZ about Marketing for Small/Medium Business.