Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Marketing Tips for Retail Businesses

Along with Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Halloween is a crucial date in the calendar for any shop looking to boost its sales with some extra marketing.

Far from frightening your customers off, entice them in with a colourful window display – the gorier the better. Whatever your merchandise, create a perfect Halloween backdrop with skulls, skeletons, cobwebs, bats and spiders. Don’t forget the fake blood dripping down the window!

Let your staff enjoy the fun by coming to work in Halloween costume. Boost morale with a Halloween after-party or a prize for the best outfit. Make sure you join in as well - they will enjoy the sight of the boss letting their hair down.

Send some of your more extrovert employees onto the streets in fancy dress to give away ‘trick or treat’ sweets and orange and black balloons, while enticing customers into the shop for more Halloween fun.

Stock up on Halloween goodies and display them at the front of your shop. Even if buckets of eyeball sweets and plastic vampire fangs aren’t your usual fare this is a good way to bring in new customers, particularly if they have children with them!

If you want to go to town, dress up your entire shop as a haunted house. Add skulls and hanging bats alongside Halloween pumpkin lanterns on the shelves. Dim the lights and play eerie music. If you have a sound effects CD then you can play the occasional blood curling scream to make your customers jump. Encourage your staff to act the part with creepy voices as they serve and offer a discount for customers who come in dressed up.

Set up an apple bobbing or ‘guess the number of spiders in the jar’ competition and give the proceeds to charity. Or run a competition for children to draw Halloween pictures that can be displayed in your window, with prizes for the scariest pictures.

If you have the budget, order some new signage, playing on Halloween themes such as ‘shocking discount’ and ‘spooky savings’. Have a look at your packaging as well – is it worth investing in some Halloween-themed bags? Can you find a Halloween twist to some of your usual products?

Don’t forget to decorate your website either. A graphic designer will easily add a few cobwebs, spiders and ghosts to your site. Just remember to remove them after the 31st. Nothing says out of date quite as much as a Halloween site in December!

Make sure you send out a press release about your Halloween activities, particularly if you are running a competition for charity, and invite your local newspaper to take pictures of your staff in costume. Most local newspapers will be doing a ‘Halloween round-up’ on the 31st, so make sure you let them know in advance that there will be photo opportunities at your shop.

Once Halloween is over make a note of what worked well and what didn’t so that you can keep it for reference next year. And then start planning for Christmas!

Rachel is a business blogger specialising in retail and currently on the lookout for shops for sale.