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!