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Posted Date: 08/24/2016

Upping the Halloween Business Ante

It may only be late August, but in just a few short weeks, the Halloween shopping season will be in full swing. With competition growing ever stiffer, it’s a good idea to do a few new things to keep product moving out the door. HALLOWEEN INSIGHT offers a few tips to start you off.

1.Promote, promote, and promote some more. As RC Ike of Party Time in Horseheads, N.Y. told SELLING HALLOWEEN earlier this year, you can either advertise—or advertise that you’re going out of business. The more you actively promote your Halloween wares, the lesser the chance you’ll have to do the former. In addition to frequent social media updates, Ike uses postcard mailers, local TV spots, and live radio remotes to keep customers shopping at his store for party items and costumes alike.

2.Optimize web and social media exposure. Let’s face it—consumers today are wedded to their smartphones, which means they are just as likely, if not more likely, to peruse websites on these devices than on their home computers. So in order to optimize your store(s)’s online exposure, you’ll need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. One way to do this is to use a template that’s responsive, which means that it adapts to whichever device is displaying it.

On the social media front, be sure to include photos with your posts and tweets whenever possible. People are far more likely to read text or click on a link when there’s an accompanying image.

3.Offer experiences. No matter what Halloween merchandise you sell, avoid making products the only draw, especially if a significant portion of your target market comprises millennials. In-store activities, like demonstrations, giveaways, contests, and parties, attract new customers, bring existing ones back to the fold instead of to competing stores, and increase sales. The more creative you can be with these experiences, the better. One retailer holds an annual blood drive, as well as a pet costume promotion from which 10% of sales are donated to the local humane society. Another hosts a party at back-to-school time, touting it as an opportunity for kids to select (and hopefully, buy) their Halloween costumes at the same time they’re getting their school clothes.

4.Start early, end late. Beginning promotions and store events very early in the season and extending them through October incentivizes customers to shop sooner and more often.

5.Get display savvy. Customers’ inclination to buy—and to purchase impulse items, such as home décor and accessories, will be much greater if you apply a little imagination to your displays. For example, dress a few mannequins in costume and position them in store aisles. If you offer party products and/or home décor, set up a Halloween party table in your store window or near displays of these products.

6.Milk the schedule. This year, Halloween falls on a Monday, which means there will be an entire weekend for partying and the actual day of the holiday for kids to dress up for school and then, trick-or-treating. Post social media messages and in-store signage to the effect of, “Halloween’s on a Monday this year, so you have the whole weekend to celebrate. Got your costume yet?” and Class Halloween party? “We’ve got the goods” You get the idea.

You’ve already ordered your inventory. Now go the extra mile to make it turn.

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