By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
The advantage of carrying holiday items year-round to boost sales
October is here and preparations for my annual Charity Haunted House are well underway. As I start to take the decorations out of storage and get ready to shop the local Halloween haunts for some new ideas; I know exactly where to go for the most unique and ghoulish decorations in town. Ironically, my favorite spot is not a big box store, but a local independent furniture retailer who year-round does some amazing front window displays to draw customers in.
And that’s no coincidence. Halloween is the second largest holiday in retail topped only by Christmas. Being a Halloween fan and doing haunts since I was 7, I’ve noticed seasonal retail grow immensely over the past few years. Catalogs are getting more sophisticated and carrying a larger selection of items for the avid collector (addicted may well be the case), as well as the fun-loving families who just want some Halloween fun for the neighborhood kids.
As home entertainment continues to be the most viable option for families in a stressed economy, many independents are profiting from adding on seasonal items year round. Getting started is as easy as placing small items near the cash registers for impulse sales or making a space for a display in the back of the store. This will not only draw in more traffic but will force customers to walk by general merchandise. The key is not to replicate what can be found in the big box stores. Instead, find a line of unique or novelty items that customers won’t be able to find anywhere else. You will have loyal customers like me coming back year after year to add to their collection, and not just waiting until they need a new refrigerator or a sofa to come in. As your customers’ haunted houses grow, so will your bottom line.
While you’re thinking out of the box this Halloween, start thinking also about other holidays that can drive extra business into your store.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
It shouldn’t surprise you that this famous quote comes from John Maxwell, one of the most respected experts in the field of leadership. If anyone copes with change day in and day out, it’s the business owner. But the irony is that we can be the very same people that fight change the most.
Look around your business, have you added any new product lines or services lately? What about new partnerships with vendors or collaborations with other local businesses? Have you attended any new trade shows, promoted new training programs, or sponsored a local event?
Most of us think that we are playing it safe in business by sticking with what has been and what has worked. Staying in our comfort zone is what seemingly keeps us protected and is what keeps us in business. Yet, when we work against change, we work against growth. We close the door to new conversations and possible opportunities. It’s like swimming upstream with the same determination as the current against us. You feel like you're working hard and getting things done, when you are only staying in place, or worse, drifting backwards.
In the spirit of the changing seasons, I challenge you to pick one area of your business this month where you will consciously stop swimming upstream, turn around and allow the current to take you in a new direction. Call that vendor who has been trying to reach you and find out about their services. Sign up for that trade show that you’ve always wanted to go to but never got around to attending. Sit down with an open mind and talk with that employee who seems to be full of energy and new ideas.
Get excited about embracing change in your business and I promise you that growth will soon follow.
Flow and grow,