The big supermarkets may have been promoting Halloween in overdrive since August, but there’s no reason your local business can’t get in on the action now. By the very nature of trick-or-treating, Halloween is all about bringing the neighbourhood together.
Stuck for ideas on how to drive more sales with Halloween-themed marketing? Here are some that will work perfectly for your small size and independent approach.
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1. Dress up your store.
Halloween-themed window displays show customers that you’re joining in with celebrations. And you don’t have to spend out on decorations at all if you don’t want to.
Boutiques can style window displays with orange, black and purple outfits, leathers, net fabrics, statement jewellery and so on. Hair salons can adapt their window posters to show models with darker, daring styles, or set up displays of hair dyes, edgy styling products and wigs. And don’t forget to put up a hand-drawn “Happy Halloween” poster signed by your whole team.
If you don’t mind splashing out just a little, cheap (or even free) decorations include:
- Pumpkins (carved with something relevant to your business, of course)
- Candles in glass jars
- Black tinsel
- Shredded bin bag streamers
- Cotton wool cobwebs
- Hanging bandages stained with paint or ketchup
- Painted gnarly twigs
2. Host an event.
Halloween falls midweek this year, so people are hunting for things to do on the weekends either side as well as the day itself. Answer their call by hosting an event in your space. Successful events need thoughtful planning, so it’s important to focus on how you’re going to make that effort pay off — what type of event will encourage sales?
Host an evening lock-in where people can come and enjoy themed cocktails whilst trying on or testing your products.
Deliver themed nail art, hair or makeup lessons, with all the corresponding products on show for people to buy.
Gyms or fitness centres.
Organise a fancy dress race ending with refreshments back at your company HQ.
Host a tasting and storytelling session where you share the enchanting native myths of indigenous tribes living in coffee-growing regions.
Don’t feel limited — this is a day where you can pull out all the stops. Last year, Topshop hosted a Stranger Things film screening at its Oxford Street store, Fanta ran their 13th Floor VR experience at Thorpe Park and Westfield Stratford and Budweiser delivered pop-up events across the UK through its Nightmare Circus Troupe of Artists concept. You might not have the big brand budget, but the point is this: at Halloween, anything goes!
Whatever the event, make sure people know about it. By creating an event page on platforms like Facebook or Eventbrite, you can get an idea of how many people plan to attend. Keep them in the loop with occasional reminders, and don’t forget to follow up with more information on how to buy your products after the event takes place.
3. Halloween-ise your store items.
The cooling weather is putting autumn flavours on people’s minds — think spices, dark fruits, bonfire toffee, smoked meat, mushrooms and root vegetables. You can incorporate these flavours into your menus, give your new creations Halloween-themed names, then share photos of them on Instagram with a unique hashtag.
There are ways to get Halloween-ised, even if you’re not a coffee shop or restaurant. Whether it’s buying in some speciality stock, selling themed eGift Cards or offering quirky refreshments to customers, the smallest tweaks delivered well can get you noticed.
4. Offer specials or deals.
Halloween-themed deals are an opportunity to drive footfall and create returning customers. People are looking for specific reasons to choose one store over another, so offers need to be enticing and timely. Think about giving discounts for items or services that will get people Halloween-ready, like chocolate and sweets, black clothing items, glittery makeup, hair dye and so on.
A workforce in full Halloween costume is another photo opportunity ripe for social media sharing. The only limit with fancy dress is your imagination. Dress-up is most effective when your team follows a theme. And the key to really making this work is to make sure everyone puts in the same level of effort. Call a team meeting to see what everyone can realistically afford and is comfortable with before making a collective decision.
6. Trick-or-treat it out.
And so back to our first point — Halloween is the perfect time to bring the neighbourhood together. Trick-or-treating may have dropped in popularity in recent years, but what’s to stop a small-business-led revival? Families (especially in cities) are always on the lookout for fun and safe places to take the kids door-to-door. Make your street the go-to destination by collaborating with other companies, decorating buildings and keeping your store open after hours as a place for trick-or-treaters to stop for a well-earned break.