It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for Halloween! This means that summer really is gone, and winter is getting closer. In the United States, 162 million people plan to celebrate this year, a 4 million increase from last year. Luckily for retailers, Halloween falls on a Friday this year, which means all treats and no tricks.
Why will Halloween be so sweet this coming Friday? Well Kim Dean, the head buyer for Wally’s Party Factory, explained that “Sales are always best when Halloween falls on the weekend.” Think about it: more celebrations and more potential sales. In fact, 33.4% of people are planning to attend or throw a Halloween party and 46.7% of homeowners will decorate their house or yard. Retailers on all channels have a few things they need to keep in mind to maximize the benefits from this particularly lucrative Halloween. Below are the top 5 things that retailers should know to end the Halloween shopping season strong.
1. Last minute shoppers
Halloween is a low-pressure holiday because shoppers don’t usually buy presents, but they will be buying costumes, home decorations, and candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Last minute shopping might be more common for brick and mortar retailers, compared to online, but 24.6% of shoppers will be looking for a last minute costume or decorations starting two weeks before Halloween. So there’s still a market to capitalize on before the parties start and the little ghouls and goblins arrive looking for candy.
The National Retail Federation projects that the average American shopper will increase their spending this year to $77.52, compared to $75.03 in 2013. Retailers will have nothing to fear this Halloween because total spending should reach $7.4 billion. However, that means that after clearing out inventory, retailers will have to think carefully about what to order for next year. Halloween 2015 will be on a Saturday and that should result in another year of high sales volume and record breaking revenue.
Nearly 68% of consumers expect to buy some sort of get-up to celebrate Halloween. This means that inventory will move quickly and retailers will need to do some significant restocking to get ready for next year. Data will be essential to know what is doing well this year and what to stock up on for Halloween 2015.
3. High traffic
Your server needs to be ready to handle the high traffic that it will be experiencing from now through the new year. The recent holiday webinar hosted by Promodo and Wiser explained that the average cost of downtime for the top 10 US retailers is $165,000 per hour. Get your servers ready now in order to get all the sales you deserve year round.
4. Competition will be fierce
The holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier each year. This year is no exception. Holiday shopping is in full effect and many retailers are competing for the same customers. Luckily, there are a few ways to make sure your business stands out.
Price: You can’t always have a lower price than your competitors, and you don’t need to. Pricing is important, but it isn’t everything. Pricing needs to be competitive, based on your target market, but it also needs to work well with your brand identity. More important than staying competitive is profitability. Unless you’re Amazon, you need to make money on your sales to be successful. There are many pricing strategies that can help retailers ensure that, and one of them is called dynamic pricing. It adjusts prices to keep up with the market, competitors, and your internal metrics, like stock levels. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, or any other holiday, your prices must take all of these factors into account in order to have a profitable business.
Merchandising: In order to get the most out of the last few days of the Halloween shopping season, retailers must have the right products in stock and merchandise them effectively. Try bundling accessories that are often bought with certain costumes to increase average order value. For example, many costumes wouldn’t look quite the the same without a wig. Take the searching and guess work out of the equation for shoppers to create a loyal customers that will come back many times a year.
The layout of your website should be easy to navigate. Make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for with top purchased products that automatically show up at the top when consumers use the search bar. Also, limit the number of steps required in your checkout process to keep potential customers from abandoning their carts.
5. The holidays are close
Halloween means that Christmas is less than two months away. Therefore, your holiday strategies should be finalized soon and ready to be implemented. Halloween is the perfect time to test pricing, merchandising, and marketing strategies to maximize revenue and profit. It’s almost the busiest time of the year for retailers, so plan now and finish the year off with a bang!
By Angelica Valentine, Content Marketing Manager at Wiser.
Wiser’s flagship product is WisePricer, full-featured dynamic pricing and merchandising engine that monitors, analyzes and reprices retail products in real-time. WisePricer enables retailers to boost profit margins and revenue, price with confidence, and improve merchandising through powering the development of a sound pricing strategy. Wiser’s Magento extension, WisePricer, was recently featured as one of Promodo’s best extensions to make ecommerce easier.