Using weather to drive a multi-channel retail experience


David Bird, Weather Analyst at The Weather Channe


Having a weather strategy is a crucial part of an effective multichannel retail offering. Weather-based marketing can create a consistent tone and message across multiple consumer brand touchpoints to drive customer engagement. Owing to its “mobile first” strategy, The Weather Channel offers a number of high-quality native ad solutions that help retailers make weather a key part of its consumer facing marketing strategy.

M-commerce is winning in the UK e-retail market.

A number of studies have consistently identified the UK as one of the most advanced e-commerce markets globally, It is the largest e-commerce retail market in real terms in Europe, with one of the highest retail spends per capita. Moreover, one of the most notable shifts within e-commerce is the shift to m-commerce. A recent study by E-marketer estimates that in the UK, 52% of all retail website visits are from a mobile device and 26% of all e-commerce retail sales are now m-commerce; and within that, tablet commerce accounts for an ever greater proportion. Effective advertising on mobile devices is therefore vitally important for retailers in the UK to maintain their share of voice and remain top of mind, as the shopper journey evolves.

Maintaining a consistent consumer experience across digital platforms is vital.

One of the key challenges confronting retailers with their marketing in the new digitally-driven climate of retail is consistency across multiple consumer touch points. According to a recent study by Retail Week, approximately half of consumers feel there is insufficient consistency between their online and offline offering when it comes to pricing, branding, customer service levels and product range.

It is always important to recognise that consumers see brands, not channels, when shopping and demand a consistent brand experience. As a consequence, retailers must create a seamless shopping experience that is channel agnostic, and digital weather-based marketing campaigns can help brands deliver a consistent message which permeates through the digital space. Here’s how…

Hitting multiple consumer touchpoints with weather

Weather is location-specific and retailers can harness the power of weather to predict what consumers will need. Weather-triggered marketing communicates the messages that will be most relevant and most valuable. Using The Weather Channel’s suite of digital products, retailers can spread the same weather message across multiple platforms – mobile, tablet or web – with a call to action for m-commerce, e-commerce or in-store purchasing. Add into the mix the fact that consumer device usage alters according to the weather (in inclement weather, for example, consumers will stay indoors and tend to use Wi-Fi connected devices such as laptop or tablet) and weather-based messaging becomes highly relevant to individual locations, time of day/year, and gender/age irrespective of device usage.

Native weather-based targeting across platforms is key for consumer engagement.

Knowing who your customer is, their location and what they might be doing gives today’s marketers smarter opportunities to engage creatively on mobile. The Weather Channel offers a large number of high quality, impactful, eye-catching native ad solutions that retail brands can associate with to elevate consumer perceptions. Branded backgrounds on Weather Channel mobile apps mean brands can engage in an immersive way by making weather the focus of their creative, perfect for us weather-obsessed Brits. Furthermore, unlike an intrusive banner ad, a branded background is subtle, even elevating the experience for The Weather Chanel visitor, who is, after all, on our site to find out about the weather.

To take an example from another industry vertical, TUI-owned company Thomson Holidays recently partnered with The Weather Channel in the UK as the host for its holiday brand’s new autumn marketing creative across its iPad and mobile app. Proven high levels of engagement on mobile devices for previous weather-triggered creative executions were a key reason for the partnership.

Weather is an effective route to “geo-conquesting”

Being location relevant is one of the key drivers of mobile marketing engagement. Weather and location are intrinsically linked as weather conditions are unique to an area. Retailers can use weather to own not only their location but also the vicinity around competitor stores through geo targeted rival messaging. As mobile is a personal device and one that travels with the consumer, retailers can embark on an ”always on” campaign for their brand, altering the creative and call to action, depending on the weather.


Written by:
David Bird,
Weather Analyst at The Weather Channel.

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