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eBay keeps an eye on the weather to help drive merchant marketing this Easter

By Paul Skeldon March 28, 2018 - 5:37 am

Retailers and brands are watching the skies to see how the weather will impact their in-store and online sales this Easter – but they should be watching eBay.

Marketplace giant eBay is bringing colourful ‘shopping inspiration’ – or adverts as we used to call them – to the streets of the UK in a nationwide digital out of home (DOOH) drive designed to bring the online retailers’ vibrant product lines to life and to drive shoppers to buy them over the holidays.

The clever bit is that the drive will be tied to real-time data from the Met Office; the automated campaign adapting to Britain’s turbulent springtime weather to contextualise its offering so that what is promoted is suited to what is happening in the sky.

For example, eBay will be promoting its merchants’ ranges of gardening products during sunny days, or suggesting a wardrobe overhaul, or some home improvements during wet and cloudy conditions.

The campaign offers another compelling reason for retailers and brands to make better use of marketplaces, especially eBay. Not only is it offering a single, centralised marketing platform for its merchants, but it is also potentially giving national billboard and transport advertising exposure to brands who may have found that previously beyond their reach.

It also allows all brands and retailers using eBay to benefit from the latest in weather-driven marketing. This is a relatively new marcomms technique and one which is hard to get into on your own without deep pockets and an ‘in’ with Thomas Schaffernaker at the Met Office.

“This campaign shows eBay’s vibrant and colourful wares in a way that is responsive and useful and aligned with consumers mindset and surroundings in that moment. It’s great to be able to promote our marketplace in a way that is agile and tactical throughout the duration of the campaign.”

Gareth Jones, senior marketing director at eBay

 

Given the current unpredictable state of both UK retail and the weather, this sort of campaign could prove vital. Many retailers and brands are banking on the Easter Weekend and beyond bringing shoppers to the stores – but the weather could scupper that. The eBay campaign makes sure that anyone out and about also gets to see what they can get up to online if the weather is beastly and easterly.

High Street retailers are hoping that doesn’t happen, with footfall monitoring agency Springboard predicting a Easter Weekend UK retail footfall in 2018 could be +2.4% higher than over Easter 2017. However, if the weather returns to freezing conditions [as some forecasts suggest] evidence from the previous two “Beasts” shows that Easter Weekend footfall could drop by as much as -15% from last year.

That said, it looks like being a boom time weekend for all retailers online and off with payday falling before the holiday.

“The timing of national payday before Easter Weekend in 2018 means that households are likely to have some discretionary spending budget available that will not yet have been spent or allocated. Recent adverse weather may have resulted in consumers deferring or cancelling shopping trips, while also delaying household spending on garden products and home improvements. If the weather remains mild this Easter Weekend, consumers may reinstate cancelled trips for the Easter weekend and are likely to visit garden centres and furniture outlets to refresh homes and gardens, and to fashion stores to browse Spring ranges.”

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director, Springboard

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