Five Tricks to Scare Up Halloween Business

Halloween is increasingly popular. Last year, seven out of ten Americans reported they planned to celebrate the holiday. And, retail spending reflects that enthusiasm. Sales of Halloween-related products increased by nine percent in 2011, to reach $6.86 billion in sales. Although the National Retail Federation hasn’t released its 2012 predictions, there is no reason to expect a decline in spending. 
Even if you don’t sell costumes, stage makeup or lawn decorations, you can still scare up some business at Halloween using these five tricks:
  • Decorate.  When planning decorations, remember you want the atmosphere to appeal to your customers and prospects. That might mean employees dressed (and acting) as zombies; it might mean using cheerful ghosts and cute black cats. Know your audience before sprucing up your storefront.
  • Participate. Capitalize on one of the strengths of a small business—being a part of the community. Piggyback on any events planned by your chamber of commerce or merchants association. If no events are planned, reach out to nearby businesses and suggest joining forces for special Halloween promotions and events.  Having several businesses participating will bring in more visitors. 
  • Communicate. Make sure your customers know of upcoming events.  Update your website and your Facebook page.  Send an email blast offering “scary/good deals” to those on your mailing list. Craft some special offers for your Facebook fans. Tweet about it.
  • Celebrate. Have a variety of activities during the run-up to Halloween, as well as on the day itself.
    • During trick-or-treating hours, provide treats for children—and to their beleaguered parents. Parent-treats might include a more grown-up candy (such as dark chocolate truffles), a free sample of one of your products or a coupon for use in the future.  (Of course, distributing treats doesn’t need to be restricted to Halloween. You may want to have treats available during the week before.)
    • Plan a contest.  While guessing the number of candies in a jar is tried-and-true, how about a contest that gets visitors more familiar with what products you carry? Tuck ghosts into various places throughout your store and have customers find and count them.   Those who find all the ghosts are entered into a drawing for prizes on Halloween.
    • Stay open late on Halloween. Hold a “Midnight Madness” sale and offer discounts to customers in costumes. Have “Mystery Bags” that sell for $1 and that contain a variety of small items that you might not be able to sell otherwise.
  • Anticipate. Make your promotions do double duty.  Halloween marks the start of the holiday season. Capitalize on this by combining a Halloween-themed offer with a coupon for use later in the year.  For example, a bakery could offer a coupon for a Christmas item with each package of pumpkin muffins or Halloween themed cookies.
Regardless of your business, find ways to capitalize on the fun that surrounds Halloween. Doing so will treat you to increased sales and happy customers.   

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