Weather-based Marketing: How to Harness the Power of Weather in Retail

retail store for cosmetics with weather-based digital signage marketing
Smart retail harnesses the weather’s power to influence your customers’ actions by launching campaigns with weather-based marketing.

The weather changes have a direct impact on retail sales. Think about it; how many of you shop in the midst of torrential rain or snowfalls? Why do we order hot soup at times and cold salad the other days? Except for Christmas Eve as a high-traffic retail season, it is only natural that customers find warm, sunny weather as more welcoming.

Weather is a significant factor in influencing customer purchase behavior. It affects their mood, motivation to buy, receptiveness, medium-shift, and second-biggest dominating aspect. Smart retail marketing harnesses the weather’s power to influence your customers’ actions by launching campaigns and weather-triggered advertisements.

Retail businesses call it “weather-based marketing” – a strong driving force that has a massive impact on retail and hospitality industries. 

How do weather-changes affect retail sales and marketing?

If you observe your daily routines, you would know that a change in weather has a directly proportional relationship with our behavior; from how we travel, what we do, to what and how we shop, specifically. Various research-based evidence indicates that as weather goes from stormy to breezy, various retail industries observe minimum to extreme alterations in their gross profit.

The most basic example of this fact is the ice cream sales. Generally, we believe that hotter temperatures tend to spike up the ice cream revenue. However, that isn’t always the case in the UK. According to research, the ice cream sales rise by 25 degrees Celsius only. After that, it gradually declines. This is because consumers who walk from the supermarket to their homes do not want it to melt along the way.

There’s a simplified model named “Profit of one Degree,” which illustrates how the weather affects retail sales. It shows that at an increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit, there’s an expected increase of 1.2% beer, 2% soft drinks, and 8% strawberries. Similarly, at every drop of 1 degree Fahrenheit, you can expect an increase of 2% soup and 3% jackets, to name a few.

Weather-based marketing is an important tool. Businesses that integrate such analytics and information to curate their marketing strategies find a substantial difference in their sales.

Weather-based Marketing – How to do it

Despite the weather being fickle with little reliance on forecasters, it might appear that exercising weather-based marketing is futile. Not at all.

For something that has such a profound effect on consumer behavior, it is only logical for retailers to strategize their inventory, deals, and marketing tools accordingly. It would help them to invest their advertising dollars in the right places and at the right time.

Let’s explore how the retail and hospitality industries can incorporate weather-based marketing strategy. For predictable seasons, as well as unplanned events.

Weather-based email marketing

Above all, such email marketing is the primary strategy opted by several retailers. This can turn into an email campaign for every season. The campaign compels consumers to take purchase action based on weather conditions. Weather forecasts and upcoming seasons help retailers curate their email marketing content.

Weather-based ad campaigning

Weather-responsive digital-out-of-home (DOOH) adverts are extremely effective. Retailers can launch a campaign based on the weather information they collect from forecasts. Further, they can prepare pre-made advertising templates for expected events.
DOOH advertising can be on static billboards, LCDs, or digital signage. Weather-based ads displayed on walkways, streets, and out of stores are proven to impact retail sales enormously.

Examples of Companies with Weather-Responsive Advertising

One such example is La Redoute; an offline fashion store, which employed a weather-based DOOH ad campaign. The series of ads involved a model who donned lighter summer clothes when the weather was warmer and changed into more layers as the wind would get cold.

Additionally, La Redoute showed temperature readings and probable forecasts as an informative piece for viewers. The campaign led to around an increase of 17% in product sales along with a 34% increase in their website traffic. 

For a service that does not exist as a brick-and-mortar store, those figures are a whopping success. Similarly, Stellar Cidre marked an increase of 65.6% annual sales, year after year, for as long as they used this tactic.

Another great example of weather-based marketing is McDonald’s setup using weather data from MET in April 2018. They exclusively based their ad on weather metrics for April 2018. The weather forecast was shown by the icons from their menu list for in-line personalization. For instance, if ‘Wednesday’ predicted rain, McDonald’s ad campaign reflected the information with a pack of fries upside down to suggest rainfall. A steaming hot coffee icon for ‘Friday’ showed a hotter temperature for the day. Therefore, for all four weeks that were unpredictable in that year, McDonald used software to update the icons intermittently, as done in digital signage.

In-store Marketing with Weather-based Digital Signage

It is worthwhile to note that the inception of digital signage and software has supported weather-based marketing like never before. The technology allows retailers to update the rapidly-changing weather data using real-time figures received from the forecasting meteorologists.

In addition to DOOH ad campaigns, you can run weather-dependent advertisements on your in-store digital signage. It does not require any extra spending.

Sun block advertisement in the sunny days at cosmetic retail

Be it in store windows, at the entrance, or the points of sale, digital signage solutions can serve as some smacking weather-based adverts. You can trigger consumer action using marketing language and special offers based on forecasted temperatures.

A weather-based condition system is a software feature that allows retailers to change the display’s content dynamically. And the content includes action-driving, weather-triggered messages that appeal to their customers. A digital signage content management system allows simple streamlining adverts with your regular display content as well.

Weather-based Marketing for Retail Trade

For instance, a clothing retail business can sell outdoor or waterproof jackets in the light of rain-predicted upcoming days. When forecasted for light, breezy weather, you can update the software to run ads selling hiking gear in-line with a promotional deal for limited periods, such as free shipping.

Moreover, pharmaceutical companies can switch to weather-based content for selling drugs for colds and flu. The temperature drops low, sunscreens where the sun shines down too high, or hay fever medication in high pollen count areas.

Weather-based Marketing for Restaurants

The highest capitalization of weather-based events is the fortune of fast restaurants, without even spending too many brains on coming up with stellar advertising copy. Meanwhile, all they need to do is streamline their brand with the weather conditions and offer some deals. For instance, “crummy weather pizzas” or “free coffees all-day.” Alternatively, you can opt for the standard “buy one get one free” for a hot, summery day.

Weather-based Marketing for Tourism Retailers

Hoteliers can collect weather data and forecasts to offer discounts on hailstorms or heavy rainfall beforehand. If it starts to rain unpredictably or gets too hot outside, you can update in and out of hotel digital signage to increase foot traffic by offering special deals for that period exclusively.

Besides, contextualized advertising uses weather-based events to be ready to sell at the right time. Several industries actively run marketing campaigns using weather to their advantage. It is called “weather hacks,” which helps them capitalize on consumer behavior.

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