Weather impacts our daily lives dsbtlme. It affects our moods, what we wear, our activities and what we buy. And our mood affects our spending. Weather is the second biggest influence on our buying decisions after the economy. A temperature shift of just one degree impacts sales of numerable products. Sunlight has a significant positive effect on willingness-to-pay as shown in the chart below taken from the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.
Source: The effect of weather on consumer spending in Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Many retailers have been basing decisions on weather for years. What products should be put on display, as well as predicting demand to know what to have in inventory. Using weather analytics can be an important driver in developing strategic marketing plans as well.
According to Weather Trends International, retail spending is effected by temperature and store traffic is influenced by precipitation. Temperature, sunshine and precipitation impacts our buying decisions. Some generalization can be made, but there isn’t one mold for every service or product. When temperatures plummet the sale of electricity, electric blankets and heaters rise; when the temperatures warm up each increased degree affects sales of sunblock and beer. One degree difference YOY can affect sales and should affect how you plan your marketing.
Applying weather analytics to your marketing plans can make a measurable difference in your performance metrics. One way is by helping you to optimize spend. Marketing more during optimal weather will bring an increase in sales, and limiting spend during the times where weather analytics would show a lower response to marketing will help improve your marketing return-on-investment.
Another way to use weather analytics to improve your marketing metrics is to align your message and offer with weather events. We have used this type of messaging for an HVAC service provider during extreme cold weather and also during heat surges with success. For Wendy’s restaurants, we have used radio as the main channel for drawing people in for a discounted Frosty® when temperatures soared. Molson Coors had success deploying a weather-triggered campaign that served ads to mobile Facebook users activated by specific weather conditions. When the temperature got hot they messaged that an ice-cold beer could help cool you off.
Another aspect of weather is the inevitable catastrophes. Flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and the like. Devastating weather events call for curbing some marketing activities and opens the door to acts of kindness. When a catastrophic flood hit Louisiana this year, we worked with our local Pella Window & Door distributor to provide relief locally, delivering water, providing lunches and raising funds to help the community that they serve. Aligning our marketing efforts with the weather situation at the time allowed us to save marketing dollars when marketing wasn’t needed and offer a helping hand instead.
While weather is universal, it has a unique local impact. Incorporating weather analytics into your local marketing plans can positively affect sales and profit margins.