How to Create a Spook-tacular Customer Experience this Halloween

10 October 2019

Customer experience | Compliance | Retail news & trends | In-store conversion optimization

Jack-o’-lanterns at the ready, folks: the spookiest day of the year is on its way.

Halloween is a total treat for retailers. According to NRF, consumers plan on spending an average of $86.27 for the holiday, amounting to a grand total of $8.8 billion.

Consumers are more than willing to indulge at this time of year, and the likes of candy, decorations and costumes just scratch the surface of the monstrous merchandise on offer, meaning retailers from every sector can get in on the festivities.

29 million of us are even planning on buying costumes for our pets. If that isn’t commitment, we don’t know what is.

The key to winning out over competitors on Halloween is providing a devilishly good customer experience. Read on for our top tips - if you dare...

Short on time? Watch this video summary instead!


1. Offer shoppers something different

Holidays like this are what the phrase “experiential retail” was made for.

Half the enjoyment of Halloween is in the planning process - choosing costumes and decorations, practising elaborate makeup, creating a haunted house worthy of the bravest trick-or-treaters and scaring themselves silly.

Online shopping may be useful, but the kind of customer who is going to buy Halloween accessories is likely to be looking for a little more of a thrill than that.

The stats don’t lie: 35% of people surveyed by NRF said they get their inspiration online, but only 25% said they’d actually buy online.

So shoppers are already eager to give brick-and-mortar retailers their money. But with every store they pass advertising similar offerings, the tough choice isn’t whether they should spend their money, but rather where they’re going to spend it.

This is why getting in-store experience right is so important for this holiday. When people are overwhelmed with options, what actually gets them through the doors is the offer of something more than just products.

It could be a Halloween makeup tutorial, a pumpkin carving workshop, a costume competition - it doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, just enjoyable!

Once you have people in the store you can work on increasing basket size, a task which becomes much easier if they’re already having a great time.

2. Bewitch shoppers with your visual merchandising

As a holiday so rooted in aesthetics and creativity, Halloween gives retailers the chance to really sink their fangs into creating an unforgettable in-store experience.

Anybody can put a few pumpkins and spider’s webs in their store window. In fact, they inevitably will. But thinking outside the box and differentiating yourself from other retailers - like this wicked display from Harrods back in 2011 - will really draw a crowd.

Bear in mind, though, that if you are going to go crazy with visual merchandising, perfect in-store compliance is absolutely crucial.

If your merchandisers come up with an elaborate concept sure to thrill even the most reluctant of Halloween shoppers, but your store teams don’t implement it properly, the results can be less than spellbinding.

Consumers are discerning, and won’t be impressed by a display that hasn’t been properly executed. The best way to avoid this is by providing stores with clear, accessible digital guidelines and enabling teams to send photos back to HQ to confirm compliance.

3. Remember to keep the customer journey simple

As much as we encourage the “more is more” approach with this holiday, the customer journey should remain as straightforward as possible.

We already mentioned that shoppers have a lot of options when choosing their goodies, and as much fun as it is to choose costumes and decorations, it also has to be easy.

So when planning your Halloween store concept, there should be a method to the madness. Navigating through the store should be more like a fun ghost train ride than a house of horrors!

The main purpose of all this decoration is to get people to buy, meaning shoppers still need to be able to navigate the store easily. Splitting merchandise into different, defined sections steers customers in the right direction, and can even encourage them to browse for longer.

Promotions in particular should be clearly displayed and made to look enticing. Let’s not forget that all of this merchandise is pretty much useless come November 1, so getting rid of inventory is a high priority.

Just follow these simple tricks, and we guarantee that Halloween will be a treat for your customers and your stores!


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