Halloween is now a huge commercial holiday. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 68% plan to celebrate this year spending up to $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on decorations, and $2.6 billion on candy. Retailers who tend to focus their marketing efforts on Thanksgiving and the end of Q4 are missing out on a major opportunity to boost sales.
Halloween consumer spending has reached record highs in the last 3 years, and you don’t have to sell Halloween specific merchandise to capitalize on consumer interest in the holiday. Ready to scare up some sales in your stores this Halloween? See our tips below.
Halloween-ize your products and services
Halloween is about more than October 31st. It is the first major autumn holiday and a celebration of all things Fall. Keep this in mind as you curate your product offerings for store hotspots.
Remember, you don’t need to sell Halloween specific products to participate in consumer excitement around the holiday, you just need to “Halloween-ize” your current offerings.
- Place autumn themed colors together.
- Emphasize anything black.
- Use decorative materials that can be repurposed for Thanksgiving (plain pumpkins, falling leaves, warm lighting, black leafless trees that you can repaint white for a winter display).
- For QSRs and restaurants, create or rename a drink or menu item.
Simple Halloween window displays can showcase your everyday offerings in a new way. Like Cole’s Hardware who displayed their boom offerings asking, “Witch broom?”
Increase foot traffic with an event
Sephora gives their regular makeup offerings a Halloween twist with select locations offering free Halloween makeovers with an in-store purchase. The specialized hashtag gives the event longer legs online and promotes brand awareness.
If your store or restaurant is located in close proximity to other retailers, consider partnering together to handout candy, host a costume contest or other celebration. Handing out branded safety gear in-store, like light-up bracelets or reflective clothing, is a great way to create goodwill and brand awareness.
Have a special Halloween door-buster sale on your regular offerings on the 31st. Offer “Un-BOO-lievably Good Deals,” and gift the first customers a special Halloween treat.
Costume exchanges are growing in popularity. Think about hosting one and showcase any accessories that will help customers up their Halloween game.
Halloween-ize your online presence
Bundle your Halloween offerings or Autumn themed content on your website to make it easy for customers to find. Like ModCloth who always draws themed clothing and accessories together.
Add Halloween themed messages and images to your social media accounts. Because men and women prefer different social media sites for Halloween inspiration, take stock of your target demographic so you can focus your social media efforts to where it matters. For instance, NRF states the 25% of women choose Pinterest for Halloween inspiration but only 12% of men do the same. 19% of men cited YouTube but only 10% of women.
While posting, take Advantage of popular Halloween hashtags that apply to your vertical such as #halloweenmakeup, #halloweendecor, or #halloweenfood. To get the most out of hashtags, Disruptive Advertising recommends hosting a hashtag contest.
“A hashtag contest is the simplest way to gather user-generated content (UGC), increase brand awareness and reach a new audience. And people who participate in UGC campaigns are more likely to become customers.”
Use a memorable or brand unique hashtag to track social interaction with your brand. And because customers are always looking for Halloween inspiration, your brand awareness grows as people share even if they are not directly participating.
Get your stores ready for peak shopping windows
The first week of October will see the biggest bump in Halloween spending with 41% making their purchases for Halloween. Twenty-five percent will be waiting until closer to the end of the month. Get your merchandising checklist ready and get into your stores before October 1 and again the last week of October to ensure your displays are fresh, your product is stocked, and your events are ready to go.
Running scarily short on time to conduct your store visits and merchandising audits? Compliant IA can have you and your stores up and running in one day.
Compliant IA is a complete retail execution and store communication platform. It runs on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It combines task management, social collaboration, smart checklists, action plans, and photo verification to ensure store programs are communicated and executed in time, in full, in all locations.
About the Author:
Chelica Hiltunen is the Director of Operations at Compliant IA. As a trained researcher, she is passionate about analyzing retail best practices and improving organizational processes for multi-unit retailers. She helps retailers raise brand awareness, work efficiently, and increase sales.