5 Tips to stop losing Ecommerce sales to Weather events

Between 1980 and 2020, there were 285 billion-dollar disaster weather events in the United States an increase of 83%. Weather is the #2 macro factor after the economy impacting your sales. As marketers we need to focus on these macro weather related conditions as they have a profound impact on ROI and sales. Here are five pro tips to improve your Ecommerce ROI and lessen the impact of severe weather events:

1. Understand your product’s correlation with the weather.

Specifically is it temperature? Precipitation? Snow? Cloud cover? High Pollen count? UV Index? Anheuser-Busch sales are directly correlated with temperature as a 1% increase in temperature equates to a 1% increase in their sales. You can figure this out yourself using NOAA weather data or you can hire these guys for as little as $299 a year to help you understand the impact of weather on your sales.

2. Design repeatable weather based playbooks for your business.

If it snows tomorrow more than 6” for more than 30 million people/ 50% of our stores then our ecommerce team executes this standard checklist of items:

  1. Email & Web: Expect Delayed shipping website messaging added due to severe weather
  2. Media Team: 25% media spend reduction on these five product categories for next two days
  3. Media Team: 10% media spend increase on these two snow related products for next 24 hours
  4. Email Team: Update to Snow based pictures for this weeks email series
  5. Alert customer service and operations that we are executing severe snow playbook

3. Track weather related KPI’s

What was the average temperature last week? Did it rain more than last year? Here are resources to get you started:

  1. Google Weather datasets that you can import into your Google Data Studio reports
  2. For those without a developer or reporting team you can try this tool
  3. If you rather use Google sheets you can use this weather connector to connect to openweathermap.org

4. Get your media campaigns weather enabled

This can range from the simple (turning on and off prebuilt weather-related campaigns) to the very complex (conditional near real-time updating of creative for 40,000 retail locations over Google, Bing, Facebook, retargeting, video, and display).

Weather resources for digital campaigns:

  1. Adwords Scripts
  2. Tool for Weather Ads for Facebook and Instagram
  3. The GroundTruth platform

5. Educate your team to add value

Weather-based marketing is a tactic that can bring amazing results but often it ends up being a script that runs instead of a broader opportunity to engage with your customers and add value to their lives. Severe weather events are now often impacting 100 million people at a time. They are stressful and sudden, and often we are badly prepared for them as we saw from the power outages in Texas this year. How can your brand join the conversation and add value and not just extract it? The more you can move beyond the tactics of weather execution to the context of weather-based awareness. Your customers will see your message as a welcome addition to their lives vs a fleeting sale.

If your organization needs help thinking about how to use weather to grow your business.

We would love to take your temperature.