How to use the weather to optimise ecommerce sales

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Summer is at our door and the sun is back! How can you take advantage of this and boost your ecommerce sales?

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We have become used to retailers collecting large amount of data about us, but now this traditional data is being supplemented by an array of new data sets, including weather, giving retailers the opportunity to offer us even better tailor made offers.

The weather influences what we wear, where we go, our moods and even our shopping habits. For example, this April there was a 17% year on year increase in ecommerce sales, which was attributed to a short spell of warm weather, but how can you increase revenue based on a force of nature which cannot be controlled?

Seasonal shopping

Big data can now forecast weather-dependent product demand, not just in aggregate, but down to the city. For example, what products are bought in what temperatures and in what cities? Therefore retailers can use this information to know what products to stock up on and target customers with appropriate adverts and promotions beforehand.

Presently sales tend to take place in certain set months, but due to climate change this traditional four season model is not always reliable, for example in the UK especially winter stock is reduced before the chill has even set in. By using real time data to predict the weather trends, retailers could plan their sales, promotions and marketing around the temperature itself, as opposed to the time of the year.

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Aps

Budweiser have been tapping into weather personalisation for some time now, they developed an app which measures the temperature, and the hotter the temperature, the less the customer paid for their beer.

Bud Ice Cold Index App – The Hotter the Day, the Less you Pay

In the USA, half of the Weather Channel App’s revenue is generated by advertising. Pantene advertises on this app and displays adverts to women depending on the weather in their location, for example displaying its strand-smoothing argan oil line to women checking their Weather app on humid days in humid regions, and volumising products in drier areas.

Social media

Etailers should also be aware that whether can affect social media behaviour. A recent study found that:

  • bad weather always makes the interaction increase – completely independent from season
  • fans react on average 42% more often when the sun isn’t shining
  • on rainy summer weekends posts receive nearly twice as much reactions: the post interaction increases by 90%
  • even in spring, autumn and winter a clear difference between sunny and rainy days is noticeable: there are 39% more reactions on average

Email campaigns

Integrating weather data into your email system could let you automatically send targeted messages/ campaigns to people experiencing weather conditions associated with a certain type of buying behaviour.

Weather data could also be integrated into retargeting campaigns. For example sending a targeted email to a consumer who recently viewed your autumn clothing range on a summer day with autumn like weather could be more effective than sending retargeting message one hour after they leave your online store. (Lengow offers its customers the possibility of creating a retargeting feed with retargeting companies such as Criteo and Struq).

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Bid management

Integrating the weather’s real-time impact on specific product demand with bid management tools can give you an advantage in paid search.

Google currently has a patent on advertising based on a smartphone user’s environment (temperature, humidity, light, etc), which may come into action soon.

Takeaway

You can use this site to view UK weather history by region in the UK, for some weather stations you can even view weather data from over 100 years ago. Although we cannot control the weather, using data we can better prepare for it and its effect on ecommerce in order to be both better organised and optimise sales.

Kathryn Bird