How Weather Impacts Consumer Behavior

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Did you know that the weather is one of the biggest drivers of consumer shopping behavior?

In fact, after the actual economy, the weather is seen as the second biggest influence for consumers and how they shop. 

Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself. 

On a bright and sunny day, are you more likely to sit inside and watch Netflix all day, or are you probably going to go out for a walk? The walk usually wins.

And more often than not, that walk can turn into window shopping, which can turn into buying those new shoes you had your eyes on, or maybe you end your day with a reward, a nice big ice cream cone. 

Either way, you probably come home feeling pretty happy, and you’ve spent some money. 

Now, imagine millions of other people around the world and copying that same behavior — that’s the impact of the weather. 

The data on weather

When you think about it, weather drives so many of the decisions we make on a day to day basis. What we wear, what we eat, and even what car we drive to the office. 

So it makes sense that weather is such a driver of consumer’s moods, which in turn impacts buying behavior. 

At this point, you might not be surprised to find there have been lots of studies conducted on how consumers behave in certain types of weather. 

One study found that when it’s cloudy or rainy out, home goods, furniture and clothing retailers can experience upwards of 12% increase in traffic to their sites. You can imagine capturing just a few of those potential shoppers translates into a real boost for the bottom line.

Another fascinating study found that when consumers are just exposed to sunlight, they are willing to pay more for certain products. The inverse is also true, and you can see this work out in real-time in supermarkets. Even slight variations in weather can impact not only the items in stock but their daily pricing.

Why email marketers should pay attention to the weather

All of this is information marketers, especially email marketers, need to be paying attention to when creating a strategy. 

The big boost that you can really embrace is to tie weather and marketing is with real-time location data. Having your customer’s zip codes unlocks all sorts of information you can use to create hyper-personalized and local emails that tap into consumer behavior. 

With emails that also use rea-time weather data, you can also send very specific campaigns that tie into the forecast in particular parts of the country.

You don’t have to send one mass email to all of your customers; instead, you can focus on cold weather customers in one segment and warm weather customers in another. 

A great example of this is for travel bookings. 

Research shows that consumers are more likely to book warm weather travel destinations when the weather where they are is cold. Use that to your advantage.

Send emails that use both the weather where your customers are and the weather where they want to be to help drive more purchases.

You can also embrace these types of emails to help drive some foot traffic as well.

Let’s say you’re a retailer with some winter clothing still in stock. Keep your eye on the forecast, and you can entice your customers to buy from your current stock when there’s a streak of bad weather.

Since they’ll be more likely to shop online when it’s crappy outside, capitalize on that. Offer a special deal or a sale only for the period of time where the weather is terrible.

You might be able to capture more sales that way versus offering a traditional sale email with no regard for the weather.

Another way to use the weather in an email is as a way to build trust with your customers. For example, if you’re a car insurance company, you can use location data to send very specific emails based on the weather in a particular region.

If it’s about to snow in New England, send an email reminding your customers to get their winter weather fluids checkup and snow tires. While you might not be suggesting a purchase at that time, what you are doing is popping up at exactly the right moment when they need it.

It’s a great way to build trust and show customers that your brand cares about them — that goes a long way to developing loyalty.

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