Quick wins: using the weather to personalise email campaigns

Published 29 th March 2021

Quick wins: using the weather to personalise email campaigns

According to the British Retail Consortium, after the economy, it’s the weather that has the biggest influence on consumer behavior.  

QuestionPro says that “Weather affects consumers’ mood, which influences buying behavior and dictates where they purchase, what they purchase, and how much they are willing to spend.”    

For example, hot, cold or rainy days see an increase of 12% of clothing, home, furniture purchases compared to warm or sunny days, and warm and sunny days bring in more foot traffic sales to brick-and-mortar stores.   

Although there’s a strong case for using personalisation in email campaigns with location data, it is often the hardest for marketers to master.

This article will demonstrate how platforms like Reignite with specialist location personalisation tools may simplify and open up new possibilities for personalising by location.

What is weather-based personalisation in email?

Weather-based personalisation allows marketers to create more relevant, powerful email messages to subscribers based on local climate conditions.

The weather plays a critical role in buying patterns

When I worked client-side in an E-Commerce team for a large multi-channel footwear retailer, we had a team in-joke when we saw the prior week’s sales down on Monday morning. It would get blamed on the weather… 

Sure enough, post the company trading meeting the ‘less than optimal weather conditions’ would indeed get aired when so many of us knew deep down there were more fundamental strategy errors at play. It just happened that it was more convenient to blame the wrong type of rain to sell wellington boots!

But in all seriousness, this little joke does highlight how the weather can play a critical role in buying patterns, yet it is usually a passing thought when choosing content for email. 

According to Instapage, 60% of marketers say that contextual signals such as location or weather have been found to be effective to drive action.

Email campaigns based upon subscriber location across a range of industry sectors is a quick-win for marketers struggling for marketplace differentiating factors because weather-based personalisation is so under-utilised.

Retail and travel: greatest impact of weather personalisation in emails

Primarily the two sectors where the greatest impact occurs are in retail and travel.

Weather personalisation in retail

Retail sees a clear pattern of the weather impacting buying decisions. Expect umbrella sales, soup, coats and boots to shoot up when it rains, and barbecues, swimwear and sunglasses sales to jump during a heatwave. 

It’s easy to cater for this in a generic capacity when weather is extreme, but the weather isn’t the same everywhere your customers live, nor that clear-cut extreme.

This is where personalising based upon the customer’s location is crucial as it allows you to tailor content accordingly such as:

  • Personalised products – feed weather into the algorithm that selects the products to display to each individual user.
  • Offers and product categories – display different banners and offers for categories relating to the local weather.

Helpful tip! Try providing a fashion forecast for customers; different products for each day of the week based upon the weather of each day.

Weather personalisation in travel

In the travel industry, it’s obvious that weather plays a big role in customers choosing where to holiday, but the weather also influences and inspires customers throughout the sales lifecycle such as:

  • Pre-departure excitement – get customers excited for their forthcoming trip with a multi-day forecast.
  • Current weather at the resort – make your customers miss you more after their departure by displaying the live scorching weather while they shiver at home…
  • Similar weather – if you know where and when customers book, you can predict future choices based upon similar weather, and combined with an API product feed, personalise the tours shown based upon weather preferences

For the travel industry, adding weather-based personalisation makes your emails hyper-relevant. If it’s due to rain when your customers arrive at their travel destination, remind them to bring an umbrella, or if it’s going to be sunny, remind them to pack in sunblock. Utilise weather personalisation and your customers will start to think of you like a helpful travel companion.

Useful tips for weather personalisation

When using weather in email personalisation, here are some useful things to consider:

  • Accurate forecasts are generally only available for 14 days in advance so time that pre-departure email to fit.
  • Weather APIs can use a range of locations; don’t think you need a specific longitude and latitude to get a forecast. For example, you can use city name, postcode or even airport code to find the local weather. And if you don’t have anything but want to personalise based upon their current location, you can always use their IP address where they are opening the email to view.

Takeaway

Although weather personalisation is a powerful way of making emails relevant, it is an under-used tactic because it is hard to get right.

But it needn’t be with real-time content platforms such as Reignite. Easily connect to the latest weather of any location to display personalised products and offers that are weather-based, or to create a forecast or stir up pre-departure excitement.
Ready to learn more? Request a demo of weather personalisation and other real-time and personalised content in Reignite or download this whitepaper for more email campaign personalisation quick-wins.

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