10 Ways Retailers Can Make the Most of the Halloween 2018

10 Ways Retailers Can Make the Most of the Halloween 2018

Halloween 2018, retail marketing | Shopify Retail blogHalloween 2018 is a great chance for retailers to connect with their customers in ways that aren’t available any other time of the year. Halloween-themed promotions and creative marketing can help your retail business pique customer interest and bring new people through the door and to your website.

But getting your customers in the Halloween spirit requires more than putting a couple of jack-o-lanterns in your window display. To create or optimize your marketing and sales for Halloween 2018, here are some insights and tactics to employ in your store.

Halloween 2018, By The Numbers

It’s all treats and no tricks when it comes to money spent on the holiday. According to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, Americans spent more than $9.1 billion on Halloween products in 2017, up 8.3% from 2016’s previous record of $8.4 billion.

Consumers were expected to spend $3.4 billion on costumes (purchased by 69% of Halloween shoppers), $2.7 billion on candy (95%), $2.7 billion on decorations (72%), and $410 million on greeting cards (37%).

As to where they find their holiday inspiration, 35% look for the perfect costume online, 30% will look in stores, 20% will ask friends and family, 18% use Facebook or Pinterest, 17% are influenced by pop culture, and print media inspires the final 14%.

Here are some Halloween marketing ideas any retailer can use to bring some festive fun — and profits — to their business.

Dress Up Your Store Both Online and In-Store

Halloween 2018 window display | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Pinterest

You don’t have to be a Halloween retailer to get into the holiday spirit, and even just a little bit of Halloween goes a long way in letting your customers know you have the seasonal items they want.

Spook things up with a Halloween-themed window display that puts a scary spin on products you already sell using black and orange decorations, creepy spider webs, and ghastly ghosts that will get the attention of everyone who’s walking by.

And don’t forget about pumpkins, but get creative. Anyone can carve a generic jack-o-lantern, but not everyone can tailor a pumpkin to their business. If you sell jewelry, maybe you create a Jewel Ghoul. If you sell wine and beer, carve in a memorable quote or create a pumpkin keg. The point is to get people talking about and coming into your store.

Halloween 2018 cookbook window display | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Pinterest

When it comes to your online storefront, you don’t have to completely revamp your theme, which could be time-consuming and expensive. Instead, focus on decorating flexible elements that catch customers’ attention when the first visit your Shopify store.

For example, create a themed pop-up coupon that appears when a customer first enters your store and add in a fun sound effect. Offer them 10% off if they give you their email address or follow you on social media. If your homepage has a slider, make a Halloween banner and add it to the slider. It’s the little touches that will let people know you’re festive and fun.

Halloween 2018 website pop-up | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Beeketing

There are dozens of apps and software options that make adding a pop-up to your ecommerce site simple and effective. For example, the Pop-Up Window app notifies your visitors about sales and promotions and can easily capture newsletter and mailing list signups. Privvy is a free option that includes customizable, mobile-friendly display types including popups, spin to win, banners, flyouts, scroll boxes, announcement bars, and embedded forms for email collection. And Pop-Up Builder does just that — captures your visitors’ attention with a message that is seen upon opening your website.

Host A Halloween Event

It doesn’t matter if you’re five or 85, everyone likes a party, so give the people what they want in the form of a themed event to celebrate Halloween 2018. Depending on your bandwidth and niche, it can be anything from a costume contest to an adults-only wine and beer “Hoppy Halloween” evening. Instructional events also bring people in, so consider holding a how-to event for spooky makeup application or pumpkin carving. The point is to create a sense of community and get people through your doors, which means you’re one step closer to a sale.

FURTHER READING: Learn more about how to create in-store events that help retailers build an engaged community of customers.

Just be sure to promote your event early so people can plan for it, and take advantage of your social media channels for free marketing. Contact local press and see if you can land on their lists of “What To Do For Halloween” so people can bring their family and friends for festive fun and, of course, shopping.

Add In Seasonal Items

So, you might be thinking, “I don’t normally sell Halloween products, so what should I do?” The answer is to look at the numbers — $3.4 billion spent on costumes, $2.7 billion on candy, $2.7 billion on decorations, and $410 million on greeting cards — and figure out how you can add in some of these products to items you already sell.

Cross-merchandise your staple items with seasonal offerings to demonstrate that you not only have what the shoppers need, but also what the shoppers want. While you might not sell hundreds of costumes, maybe you focus on the accessories or home decor instead.

The key is to offer relevant products to your customers that encourage them to buy items in a bundle — candy and candles, wigs and wine — with the ultimate goal being to encourage future store visits.

Team Up For Trick-Or-Treating

The very nature of Halloween is to get out in the community, so it only makes sense to team up with other local businesses and attractions for a local event that offers fun, sales, and special promotions. Check out attractions like cider mills and pumpkin patches in your area and offer to give out discounted tickets when customers shop with you — and vice versa — which could lead to new business for both businesses.

When giving out candy, don’t forget branding. Give out candy with wrappers printed with your logo, or even pass out bags with your name printed on them that can be used for trick-or-treating. Not only will they think of your store while they’re shopping, but also while they’re out and about — which is free marketing.

Design a Halloween-Themed Logo

Your logo should always be a recognizable symbol that represents your brand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add in some festive flair for Halloween. Take Google, for example. Everyone knows the Google logo, but they mix things up by posting a different Google Doodle each day — and they get especially creative for holidays.

During the days and weeks leading up to Halloween, add elements like pumpkins, ghosts, or haunted houses to your logo. It will still be identifiable as your brand, but it gives it a little fun flair. If you come up with three or four different options, have fans vote for their favorite on social media, which encourages interaction.

Send a Halloween 2018 Newsletter

The numbers don’t lie: Email has an ROI of around 4,300%, 70% of people make use of coupons or discounts they learn about from email, and 60% of people say that receiving special offers is the top reason they subscribe to an email list from a business.

FURTHER READING: Learn more about how retailers can use email marketing and move seasonal merchandise with discounts.

Give people what they want in a newsletter that announces upcoming store events and seasonal promotions with a clear call to action to visit your store for spooktacular savings.

Host a Social Media Contest

Every year, pet retailer PetSmart hosts a pet costume contest that gets thousands of likes and shares throughout the month of October. Customers submit photos of their pets in costume and have their friends vote for them to win prize money. It’s simple, and simply brilliant.

FURTHER READING: How to create online contests that convert more customers.

There are tons of opportunities for your business to use Halloween to get customers really engaged on social media. Host your own social media contest where you encourage your customers to submit photos of things like costumes, decorated pumpkins, and creative treats. The reward? Check out the next point.

Offer a Halloween Discount

While you have customers interacting on social media, up the ante by offering a free gift or discount code to the winners of your contest.

You can also have a discount code or similar offer for customers who show off their Halloween spirit either in-store or via photos submitted to your website or social media. This engagement with your brand increases the likelihood that they’ll actually shop with you not just during Halloween, but all year round.

Set Up a Scary Selfie Boo-th

People love pictures, especially when they can take pictures of themselves. Consider setting up a spooky photo “boo-th” in your brick-and-mortar location where people can showcase their costumes and holiday flair. Include props like hats, masks, and spider webs, and encourage shoppers to “Trick-or-Tweet” out a picture of themselves using your prominently displayed branded hashtags and tagging your social channels. You can even run an in-store photo gallery of some of the best shots that foster ongoing engagement.

DIY Guides

During the holiday season, search volume for the keywords “Halloween gift ideas” amounts to more than 10,000 monthly searches and will get you more than 20 million results with Google. What that tells you is that if you have a blog on your site, you invest in creating content using those keywords.

Target Halloween guide | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Target

But it’s not enough to just write a blog post — you have to use it to your marketing advantage and prove useful to your readers and potential customers. DIY is a huge trend right now, one that Target brilliantly capitalized on a couple of years ago. The retail giant created a DIY Halloween guide full of ideas on Instagram for recipes, costumes, craft projects, and party-hosting. Followers were encouraged to post pictures of their “trick” or “treat” using their #HalloweenHills hashtag.

Any brand can add value to their social media marketing by offering guidelines and ideas that boost both engagement and shares, so put together a “Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide” or a “Haunted House How-To” on Instagram and tweet out a discount for those who participate. They see your brand, they interact — it’s a total win-win.

Moving Forward With Retail Marketing for Halloween 2018

The lead up to Halloween 2018 is a great time to show customers that you not only carry the products that they need, but that you also know how to have a good time. The next time they’re debating where to go, they’ll remember the little touches — the decorations, the candy, the fun — which set you apart from the competition.

Photo of Abby Heugel

About the Author

Abby has more than 15 years professional experience and her personal work has been featured multiple times in Reader's Digest, Huffington Post, The Today Show, Apartment Therapy, and BuzzFeed, among other places. She was the editor of two specialty retail trade publications for seven years before moving on to become the associate editor of a website that was ranked as one of the top 10 mobile websites in the world. She also has an award-winning blog and more than 60,000 social media followers.

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