The owner of D’mai Urban Spa in Brooklyn, New York, Daniella Stromberg, always had a sense that weather played a role in how much foot traffic she saw on a given day. What she didn’t realize, at least not initially, was just how large an impact it was having.
“[Now] I know that inclement weather is really good for my business, and beautiful weather is bad for my business,” Stromberg says. “I can do a five-day weather forecast, and I can increase my staff when the weather is inclement. When it’s going to be a glorious weekend, I can make other changes.”
Hyperlocal vendors are making it possible for business owners like Stromberg to overlay weather data on top of daily sales figures to make better decisions, but many local merchants are still unsure of how to utilize the insights they glean from this information. Here are seven strategies for local businesses to use weather information to better target their hyperlocal messaging.
1. Promote products that are relevant to the conditions. “Businesses can use weather when deciding what products to advertise. This works for display advertising and we’ve also seen trials around push messaging, with a supermarket partnering with the Met Office in the UK to send push notifications tailored to the weather. So for example, one person in an area where it is good weather gets an offer to drive them in store, another person in an area with rain gets an offer delivering an online incentive.” (Jon Mew, IAB UK)
2. Use triggers to automate the process. “WeatherFX enables media campaigns to adapt and react to the weather in a fully automated fashion. Impactful ads can be triggered by temperature range, weather conditions — like rain or snow — and severe conditions. We can also serve ads based off our proprietary triggers that relate weather to sales and consumer behavior data. For example, local zoos might deploy our ‘Outdoor Activity’ trigger to stay top of mind on days when people in their community are likely to be outdoors.” (Denise Chudy, The Weather Company)
3. Plan ahead to lift sales during slow periods. “We’ve seen that many restaurants have higher sales during periods of nice weather, while salons and spas have upticks when it rains. With these insights, businesses can plan marketing campaigns ahead of time that lift sales during historical soft spots and better staff their restaurants and stores to match demand. This winter, Growlers Pour House in North Carolina ran a number of ‘Snow Day’ specials to reinforce that they were open, and serve free hot chocolate and whisky to warm up customers. As a result of the campaigns, they saw better than average social media engagement and higher in-store sales.” (Matt Oley, Swipely)
4. Reduce waste and improve targeting. “Using weather data you can decide what ads to serve and where. Let’s say you are marketing cider and you know you sell more when it’s hotter. Why not only serve ads to the people in the locations where the temperature is above average? The combination of weather data and mobile marketing can enable highly targeted, hyper-local and hyper-personal branding for advertisers.” (Jon Mew, IAB UK)
5. Take your industry into consideration. “Service related companies, like utilities, can offer consumer tips during winter, rain, high wind, stormy and severe conditions, like what number to call in the event of a downed power line. Meanwhile, if you are a restaurant with an outdoor patio, be sure to target sunny days and showcase your outdoor seating in your creative. Matching the ad to the weather condition is a great way to drive increased performance.” (Denise Chudy, The Weather Company)
6. Use weather data to improve operations. “Weather, and even time of day, can play into order volume for restaurants. In fact, we’ve recently confirmed that orders spike during inclement weather, including rain, snow, and sub-zero temperatures. We feel that under these circumstances, it’s more important for restaurants to focus on the operational side of the business. Operationally, restaurants have to take a look at their order history to determine trends in order time, time of day, time of year and weather patterns in order to equip themselves for increases in demand.” (Allie Mack, GrubHub Seamless)
7. Utilize mobile to the fullest extent. “Weather and mobile go hand in hand. Checking the weather is one of the most frequent things we do on our mobiles, and we check it for a reason, to help us plan what we do. That means it has a massive impact on where we go, what we wear, what we consume and much more. Knowing what the weather is, or will be, at a precise location, can give a brand a real edge in its mobile marketing strategy.” (Jon Mew, IAB UK)
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.