East of England Coop Hero

02/18/2024

Meteomatics Helps East of England Co-op Get the Right Amount of Products on the Shelves

Akemi Narindal Aoki - Digital Marketing Manager
Dr. Akemi Narindal-Aoki
Sr. Content Marketing Manager
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Weather has the power to shape consumers' spending habits, influencing what, where, and when they make purchases. For retailers, it's crucial to monitor weather changes to ensure their shelves are well-stocked and optimize revenue. In this use case, discover how the East of England Co-op uses the Meteomatics Weather API to manage inventory in over 125 grocery stores.

Weather Is Central to the Retail Sector

The weather has the power to shape our lives in many ways. It influences our mood, impacts our health, defines the logistics of our days, and makes or breaks our vacations.

As outdoor conditions influence people’s emotions, needs, and activities, they also play a role in how we spend our money. Weather affects:

  • What we buy: The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the kinds of equipment we need — warm sunny weather tends to increase sales of barbecue goods!
  • Where we buy: Sunny days tend to increase in-store sales while decreasing online shopping, whereas rainy days often have the opposite effect.
  • When we buy: Seasonal changes naturally alter the products available and influence consumer cravings. Think of ice cream in the summer, pumpkins in the autumn, mandarin oranges in winter, and asparagus in spring!

Another aspect to consider is the impact of severe weather events. Besides occasional store closures, severe weather can disrupt the entire supply chain due to transportation issues and the spoilage of weather-sensitive products.

East of England Co-op Is the Largest Independent Retailer in the Region

With roots dating back over 150 years, the East of England Co-op has evolved to become the largest independent retailer in the region and one of the United Kingdom's largest consumer cooperatives.

Operating an extensive network of over 230 branches across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire, it offers food retail and Post Office services, alongside a wide range of specialized offerings such as funerals, security services, travel agencies, fuel forecourts, and commercial and residential properties.

East of England Co-op Uses Weather Data To Manage Inventory

With numerous local suppliers and a multitude of small groceries to manage, the Central Operations team must assess all the factors that could impact supply. Weather ranks among the most critical factors they consider when managing inventory. Accurate forecasts enable them to optimize operations, reducing waste and increasing revenue.

Although weather affects all retailers, the varied size of East of England Co-op's stores presents more significant challenges compared to larger retailers. With limited shelf space, these compact grocery stores must maintain the right product quantities in stock to maximize profits and minimize waste.

Supply managers should pay particular attention to cold and wet days. Business Intelligence & Data Manager Rob Smith explains, “Given the region's usual dry and warm weather, the typical customers tend to stay indoors during adverse conditions, resulting in decreased foot traffic at the stores.”

Simon dyrell
Simon Dryell
Head of Central Operations
East of England Co-op
We have made significant savings in waste compared to last year and have driven strong year-on-year sales growth through the implementation of the API.

Meteomatics High Spatial and Temporal Resolution Was the Decisive Factor for East of England Co-op

Before partnering with Meteomatics, managers across East of England Co-op's business consulted weather data from various publicly available sources. These sources not only created cumbersome processes but also failed to provide all the necessary data.

Project Manager Robert Hawkins explains, “Meteomatics came highly recommended by one of our software suppliers”, and adds, “Since implementing the Weather API solution, we've seen a significant improvement in our operational efficiency. What sets the Weather API apart for us is its high spatial and temporal data resolution, as well as its rapid data delivery — features that were lacking with other providers. It gives us accurate weather data for the precise locations of our stores."

They manage inventory with relatively short lead-time decisions, relying on close-range weather forecasts for the next four to five days and daily updates for the subsequent 45 days for food store locations. Additionally, they plan well in advance for seasonal produce & national events referencing historical weather data and long term forecasts up to 9 months ahead to gain insight into the general weather sentiment.

Simon Dryell, Head of Central Operations, elaborates, “As we order some products months or even a year in advance, being able to analyze historical weather data and compare it with the sales data we have accumulated over the years is invaluable in predicting when and how much of a product we need to order for a store. We have made significant savings in waste compared to last year and have driven strong year-on-year sales growth through the implementation of the API. We've seen this impact most prominently during the summer, for example, when we drive hot/warm weather product lines into stores, especially those themed around BBQs, Bank Holidays, and our seasonal stores in coastal locations.”

Robert hawkins
Robert Hawkins
Project Manager
East of England Co-op
What sets the Weather API apart for us is its high spatial and temporal data resolution, as well as its rapid data delivery — features that were lacking with other providers.
East of england co-op store
East of England Co-op store

East of England Co-op Plans on Using Weather Data for More Applications in the Future

The future is looking bright for Meteomatics' partnership, as the cooperative actively prepares to use weather data for optimizing its operations across other business sectors.

In addition to developing a severe weather alert system to warn about potential supply chain disruptions, they also intend to integrate Meteomatics' weather data with their funeral services and travel agencies data to help guide operational decision making.

These sectors, while distinct, are both also significantly influenced by weather conditions.

As they continue to expand their use of weather insights, the future promises even more effective decision-making and resilience in the face of changing weather conditions, reinforcing the East of England Co-op’s commitment to delivering top-notch services to their customers.

Akemi Narindal Aoki - Digital Marketing Manager
Dr. Akemi Narindal-Aoki
Sr. Content Marketing Manager

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