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Tips, tricks AND treats for retailers this Halloween

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Tips, tricks AND treats for retailers this Halloween

Last October saw retailers rejoice as Halloween overtook Valentine's day as the third biggest retail event in the year, just behind Christmas and Easter. Financial website ‘This is Money’ reports Britons are spending £300-£400 million on Halloween related items with fake blood and pumpkin sales increasing by 3000% since 2001.

Increased Americanisation of the pagan holiday has fuelled a desire for millennials to emulate Halloween parties portrayed in American films, a great opportunity for retailers to drive sales. Supermarkets have been quick to supply demand with Asda (supported by American parent company, Wal-mart) increasing its costume stock by 295%. Halloween needn’t be the reserve of supermarket giants, small and independent retailers should don their witch's hat with a view to boost sales and reap the rewards. There are several frighteningly good ways to drive revenue during the spooky celebrations, so gain some inspiration and boost your business!

Tips, tricks AND treats for retailers this Halloween

In-store celebrations

Actively getting involved in Halloween celebrations can help improve your community credentials as well as encouraging customers to get in the spirit of the event. This can help drive sales of associated products. Decorating your store is an immediate way to make an impact on your customers.

Halloween decorations can be purchased cheaply and when looked after, can be used again in subsequent years. To draw people in, consider how the shop looks from the outside. Imaginative window displays, use of light and well-placed decorations all work to create an atmosphere your customers will want to recreate in their homes.

Inviting your staff to dress up for the Halloween weekend can be fun for both employees and customers and acts as a talking point, a great way to build rapport with customers. In-house costume competitions can boost engagement amongst staff and adds to a fun sense of occasion.

Special offers work a treat all year round, but especially during commercial holidays where consumers appreciate value. Classic Halloween products such as pumpkins or sweets will be in high demand and will have minimal effect on margins, selling at discounted prices or as part of BOGOF offers.

Another way to engage customers at a low cost is to offer a free gift with their purchase. Small offerings such as cakes or sweets are a small token of your appreciation and also acts as a nod to Halloween's trick or treat tradition.

Tips, tricks AND treats for retailers this Halloween


Running a competition is tried and tested method for encouraging customer engagement with your brand. Halloween is a prime opportunity for running fun themed competitions to appeal to your target demographic.

Online competitions run through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will extend your brand reach and have the added benefit of being free to run. The only costs involved are prizes and time dedicated to admin. User generated content builds your stores credibility so invite people to add to your page. Photography, writing and art competitions are a good way to do this. If you haven’t got the time or inclination to judge your patron's offerings, then a simple retweet/share post or Halloween prize draw is a quick way to spread the word.

If your business deals in children’s products or parents regularly use your shop, such as a local convenience store, running a competition for children will encourage parents to spend time and money in your establishment. Pumpkin carving competitions, face painting and craft activities are always popular. Low-cost prizes such as confectionary will be well received amongst children.

Tips, tricks AND treats for retailers this Halloween


Whatever you choose to do, how ever you choose to do it, make sure you promote it! Any event big or small is an opportunity to publicise your products and services. Your customers can only benefit from promotions if they are made aware of them so this means advertising in-store, online and through email.

Email marketing is another free versatile tool business owners can use to advertise their products for free. Choosing to run a competition is a great opportunity to boost your email lists whilst keeping consumers abreast of offers and promotions in store. Stylize text and images to promote the Halloween theme and personalise the email with the customer's name.

Extend the Halloween theme to your website, changing text fonts or adding additional images to promote your special offers. Branded and themed promotions can drive up to 5x more engagement from online customers so return on your time investment tweaking your web design has the potential to be huge.

For advertising in store, focus on attention-grabbing signage or point of sale promotions which highlight your special offers/competitions. Retailers can also invite customers to join the conversation on social media channels on posters, the back of receipts or flyers by the till. Take pictures of dressed up staff, scary decorations and themed products to push your agenda on social media.


Erin Heenan

Erin joined Epos Now in 2016 as an in-house content writer for the marketing department, making use of 10 years experience working in busy restaurants. An avid fan of shopping and eating out, she is committed to helping retail and hospitality SMEs get the most out of their businesses.

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