Halloween was once considered to be reserved just for the kids; an evening of donning ghoulish h o m e m a d e costumes, playing low-cost party games and collecting sweet treats from willing neighbours. But, in recent years, it has grown into UK’s third-biggest retail event of the year, overtaking Valentine’s Day and outstripped in the spending stakes only by Christmas and Easter.
With Brits splashing out an estimated £310million on Halloween last year, the opportunity for retailers is vast. And as a broader range of consumers – from young families through to adult party-goers – embrace Halloween, it’s become a key event for retailers across multiple sectors, not just those selling witches hats and buckets of sweets.
For those in the DIY sector, helping shoppers overhaul their homes for the freakish festivities has become an opportunity that’s simply too big to miss out on. And, with outdoor projectors rapidly gaining popularity as party hosts project spooky images onto their homes, it seems that when it comes to Halloween, nothing is too much.
These are my three top tips for any DIY retailer looking to make their fair share of spooky spend this October:
Use online platforms and look for opportunities to cross and up-sell
Just as with any big retail event, heightened consumer interest means increased competition amongst sellers. Make use of your online presence to ensure you’re appealing to as broad a range of customers as possible, wherever and whenever they’re shopping, as a complement to your physical store.
Online retail platforms give you access to in-depth shopper insights, meaning you can build a picture of who your customers are and what makes them tick - and use that knowledge to ensure you’re targeting the right people with advertising materials, deals and offers that will appeal to their interests and attitudes.
And once you’ve struck up a relationship with those customers, don’t forget to look out for opportunities to cross and up-sell. For homeware retailers, the opportunities around Halloween increase every year – with themed tablecloths, napkins, cups, cutlery, straws, table confetti and even drinks bottle labels available, make sure you’re tempting shoppers and showing off the full range to help them complete the look.
Ditch the stereotypes
Halloween has undoubtedly spread beyond its original confines of being an excuse for youngsters to dress up. Today, shoppers old and young across the country take part in the spooky event, buying not only the trending costumes of the moment (for every family member, including the pets!) but all the necessary paraphernalia to host a party to be remembered.
With two weeks to go until Halloween last year, searches for “Halloween decorations” on Ebay. co.uk reached their peak, rising 23% overnight. That same weekend saw searches for “party” spike on the site, registering an 11% rise compared with the first weekend of the month. And consumers of all ages were joining in on the fun, with shoppers aged 35 or over making 47% more searches for “Halloween decorations” than their younger counterparts.
Appealing to shoppers of all ages should be an integral part of any successful Halloween strategy. Don’t limit your appeal to only cater for families with young children, think instead of the wider opportunities for party-goers of all ages, including adults hosting their own Halloween extravaganzas.
Don’t curtail the witching hour
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of last minute – and even post-event - shoppers. Our data shows that for some Brits, the excitement of Halloween simply never ends. Last year, searches for “Halloween decorations” on eBay.co.uk almost doubled overnight on Monday 31st October as shoppers planned for belated celebrations, or even looked to put the legwork in early for next year.
For sellers, having the right inventory stocked to weather the peaks in demand is critical to success this Halloween. Maximise the opportunity by extending your presence online and harness the data available to really understand your shoppers, their needs and interests – then use the insight to engage with them on their terms, tapping into the different purchasing patterns and trends. And, showcase your very best spook-tacular stock at the opportune moments, whether shoppers are planning their parties on a Friday night, Monday morning or even on the day itself.