By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
October is here and many of your customers are making preparations for their annual haunted house or spooky front yard. The stores that sell seasonal products have already gotten ready for the holiday season. I have just started to take inventory of all the halloween props I have and am getting ready to visit the local halloween haunts near me for some new ideas and inspirations. I know exactly where to go for the most unique and ghoulish decorations in town and it is likely your customers do as well. My favorite spots are usually smaller shops that I find when I’m on the road but I also source from the usual local retail haunts.
Halloween is the second largest holiday in retail topped only by Christmas. Being a huge halloween fan myself, I’ve seen the seasonal retail business growing immensely over the past decade or so. Retailers are getting more sophisticated and carrying a larger selection of items for the avid collector. The desire for better products has risen causing a larger demand for more choices and better quality. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, At Home, Big Lots and even the Dollar Tree have taken advantage of the added revenue numbers as more and more people are taking this holiday to the extreme.
As entertaining at home continues to be a viable option for families, many independents are profiting from adding on these seasonal items year-round for various holidays. 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 and their desire for better products grow, so can your bottom line.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
So, can we be real here? Life as we know it is zooming by at an unprecedented rate these days. We need to launch our personal and business lives into beast mode in an attempt just to keep up, let alone get ahead! So, who’s minding the shop?
Maybe it’s time to do a quick SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
and threats) analysis to see what your business does best and where it may be falling short. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
Today, technology, society, life, and our priorities are in constant change. Consumers are used to change; they have even come to expect it. If their perception of your company is the same for too long, they won’t give it a second glance. Maybe it’s time to refresh your logo, re-design your website and engage more in social media with an active video presence. Companies who stay up-to-date count mobile-friendly websites and technology-based services among the ways they serve their customers best. In order to keep up with the times, we must be ready, willing and able to keep current with customer needs and expectations in today's marketplace.
Has your brick and mortar location’s neighborhood transformed since you opened the store? In some areas, the socio-economic mix may have changed dramatically. How has that affected the perception of your storefront? Have entertainment venues entered the scene? Have the traffic patterns changed? Consider a move if your current location has become undesirable.
Once you’ve identified what you need to do to infuse a sense of freshness into your business, roll it out in stages. Engage your employees to discover ways to please and attract new customers. Embrace your business’ fresh new look and feel. It’s time to refine your business for the times.
The takeaway is clear: As technology continues to improve, companies will be forced to adapt, change or die, based on their customers’ ever- changing demands and expectations. Change is inevitable, and it’s up to us to keep up with it.
Here’s to embracing change!