After Black Friday sales, Christmas shopping frenzy, and post-Christmas sales we find ourselves in the most boring sales season of the year yet again — it’s cold, grey, raining, and snowing. People are sitting at home, rather than strolling around the shopping malls.
A 2010 study by economist, Kyle B. Murray, revealed that exposure to sunlight could increase consumption and our likelihood to spend. Similarly, when it’s cloudy and cold, our likelihood to spend decreases. Moreover, in many countries, restaurants, bars, and shopping malls are shut down due to governmental restrictions. All in all, the forecast does not look too promising.
How can you boost your sales in the grey and boring winter 2021 season? One good strategy is to, on particularly bad weather days, motivate your audience to purchase with personalized, contextual messages. On cold, winter days, you could launch weather-based campaigns that would give an incentive to your customers to motivate them to spend more – anything from a coupon code, free shipping, freebie to a gift card or even extra loyalty points gained after placing an order. Sounds perfect, but how to target only those customers whose weather forecast meets certain conditions?
What is Weather Marketing
Weather marketing (also weather-based marketing or weather triggered marketing) is powerful marketing automation that utilizes real-time weather data to trigger ads and personalize marketing messages based on the local weather.
It might seem complicated and time-consuming to launch a weather-based campaign but luckily SaaS, API-first solutions can deliver fast time-to-market and low-budget solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.
To help businesses this winter, we, at Voucherify, have prepared a use case and a tutorial of a low-code weather marketing campaign for inspiration. We have focused on scenarios that can be set-up within a couple of days to let you still use it this season. We have done an experiment and set up both, global and local weather-based coupon and gift card campaigns, using little to no code, with the use of five API-first platforms. The set-up took just a couple of hours, including the ideation step. We only needed to code the pop-up form that collects emails and shares the user’s IP-based geolocation but if you have such a form out-of-the-box in your CMS platform, you might skip that step.
To set up the campaigns, you will need the following platforms:
- Geolocation Web API
- Zapier <> Aeris Weather – Automation API
- Segment — Customer Data Platform
- Voucherify – Promotion Management Software
- Braze – Email Marketing
- Twilio – Mobile Marketing
All of these tools have a free trial available as of January 2020, so you can try this set-up before committing to any subscriptions.
We have created two campaign scenarios– one for local companies and the other for global businesses. Here is a short overview of what you can set-up in a couple of hours using previously mentioned tools and what steps you should follow to set it all up:
Example 1: Berlin Café – Local Weather Campaign
This is a promotional campaign for a café in Berlin. At the beginning of the winter season, users get two promotional codes via text message that they can use only if it is snowing (the first code is active if the temperature is above -15°C, another if the temperature is below -15°C). The coupons are disabled or enabled on a daily basis automatically, based on the weather forecast for Berlin which we check every day at 7 AM via a Zapier automation. The coupons can be redeemed only once per customer.
Here is the promotion logic:
- If it is snowing in Berlin, enable a -20% public coupon.
- If it is snowing and the temperature dropped below -15°C in Berlin, enable a -50% public coupon.
- If it is not snowing, disable both offers.
This is the flow that the campaign would use:
These are the steps you would need to follow to set it up:
- Import your customer base to Voucherify (ensure that customer profiles include location and phone number).
- Build a segment for customers from Berlin.
- Create two standalone codes for -20% and -50% with a customized code pattern.
- Share the codes with customers via SMS via Twilio integration. An example message can look like this:
- Go to Zapier and build a connection with AerisWeather.
- Within Zapier flow, ask AerisWeather to check the weather in Berlin every day at 7 AM.
- Set up the following Zapier workflow:
- If the weather conditions are met, Zapier sends a POST request to Voucherify to enable vouchers.
- If the weather conditions are not met, Zapier sends a POST request to Voucherify to disable the vouchers.
Example 2: Global Weather Campaign For An Online Coffee Store – Let It Snow
This campaign scenario is meant for global companies that have users spread out in different locations. With this flow, you can target users from different cities and countries based on their local weather conditions.
Here is the promotion logic:
- If it is snowing, the users will get a coupon for a free thermos, redeemable if their order is above 50$.
- If it is snowing and the temperature is below -15°C, the users will get a 40$ gift card valid for orders above 100$.
- Redeemable once per customer.
- Coupon validity seven days after publication.
- Gift card validity for the campaign’s duration (in our case, from 01/09/2020 to 31/12/2020).
The user journey in this campaign would look like this:
An ad (for example, a Google or Facebook Ad) leads to the landing page with a form to fill out. In the form, a visitor has to enable location sharing and enter their email address to take part in the weather-based campaign.
If the user, in their (browser-provided) location, at the moment of filling out the form, has the weather conditions that are specified in the campaign, they will get the coupon or gift card, respectively.
The coupons or gift cards will be delivered to the qualified users via Braze email distribution. The coupons/gift cards will be validated against the campaign’s rules (by Voucherify), and only the customers whose orders satisfy the pre-set criteria will be able to redeem them.
How would it work from a technical point of view?
- The user comes to the landing page and fills out the form to share their email and geolocation information via browser API.
- The form sends the customer data via webhook to Zapier:
- Zapier sends the data to Segment.
- Segment sends the data to Braze and Voucherify.
- Zapier asks AerisWeather about the local weather for the user, based on the geolocation information. There are two possible paths Zapier will follow:
- If it is snowing and the temperature is below -15°C, then:
- Zapier requests Voucherify to update the previously created customer with metadata: isCold: true, isSnow: true.
- The gift cards distribution of gift cards is automatic, triggered when the customer enters the relevant segment. The segment will gather customers who meet two metadata requirements isCold: true AND isSnow: true.
- If at the user location it is snowing, and the temperature is above -15°C, then:
- Zapier requests Voucherify to update the customer with metadata: isCold: false, isSnow: true.
- The free thermos discount codes distribution is automatic, triggered when the customer enters the relevant segment. The segment will gather customers who meet two metadata requirements isCold: false AND isSnow: true.
Here is a summary of the steps you would need to take to set up this campaign:
- Create customer metadata in Voucherify.
- Build customer segments in Voucherify.
- Set up two campaigns – unique coupons and gift cards in Voucherify.
- Prepare automated distribution with Braze using the Custom Attributes feature.
- Create a landing page with a form to collect customer information and a button to enable location sharing. (here you might need a developer to help you out if you do not have forms out-of-the-box in your e-commerce platform/CMS).
- Set up Segment integration to catch data coming from the form and transfer it to Braze and Voucherify.
- Go to Zapier and create a Zap with AerisWeather, Segment, and Voucherify plug-ins.
You can freely customize the flow to meet our unique business goals. The flow above is based on validating the weather conditions when customers fill in the form on the landing page. You could change this flow so that the weather conditions are checked at the moment of redeeming the incentive in your store. In this kind of campaign, all customers would receive the offer but it would be usable only in the predefined weather conditions. It’s up to you which flow suits your needs better.
Both promotions are quite easy to set-up and use API-first solutions that offer free trials. You can set them up yourself, launch for a couple of days and see the results, before committing to paid subscriptions. If you want to set it up, you can read the full guide with screenshots and step-by-step instructions for both campaign scenarios on Voucherify.io 200 OK magazine.
These two campaigns are just one use case of the above-mentioned platforms. There are plenty of other, out-of-the-box promotions you can build using these and/or other API-first platforms.
Voucherify is an API-first Promotion Management System for Digital Teams that empowers marketing teams to launch contextual coupon, referral, discount, giveaway, and loyalty campaigns faster.