How will the polar vortex effect the economy?
It was a balmy 34 degrees this morning as I made my way into the office. That is like a tropical heat wave here in the Chicago area compared to the weather we have endured this winter. As individuals, we have had items we can use to endure extreme temperatures. Some of these items would be hats, gloves, coats, furnaces, remote start, boots, hot coffee and more. But what things can businesses use to survive extreme temperatures?
Some estimates are that the frigid weather will put a $5 billion damper on the economy. Many businesses were forced to close their doors due to extreme cold or major snow storms this winter. For many business owners that meant a slice of that $5 billion dollar revenue loss. But, for others, they may have maintained their revenue, or even experienced a boost. If you were a restaurant or grocery store that offered delivery services or a retail store that has an e-commerce system in place you could take advantage of selling to customers when brick and mortar stores were closed due to the weather.
Reports say that online retailers benefited from customers who were stuck at home and had gift cards to spend. Sure airlines suffered from canceled or rerouted flights. But on the flip side, they probably benefited from future travelers who were tired of the snow and cold and were booking future trips to warmer climates from the comfort of their homes and via an e-commerce system.
In other industries that don't rely specifically on e-commerce, it was still business as usual. Take us here at SYDCON. We closed our physical office on the sub-zero days, but our staff all has remote access to work from home. So our clients didn't experience any loss in production time. Businesses that offer the ability for remote access during inclement weather are not losing revenue and their staff is not losing income.
I would say it's safe to assume online digital entertainment such as on-demand cable or satellite services or things like Netflix and Hulu saw major gains during the extreme weather. With cities shutting down or roads not being plowed, movie goers more than likely switched to on-demand video streaming or signed up for Netflix to pass the time.
What new and exciting ways did you find to fill your time stuck inside? Did you sign up for a new digital entertainment service or binge watch new shows via Netflix? Did you add to your winter wardrobe by doing some online shopping? Or perhaps you stocked your cabinets with a delivery from an online grocer? Or maybe it was just business as usual for you but in your PJ's as you clocked into work via remote access? How did the polar vortex affect you or your business? If your business struggled due to the weather perhaps its time to explore the benefits of e-commerce, remote access, or other online business tools.