With the days getting shorter and the leaves on the trees starting to turn orange, people all across the country are beginning to look ahead toward the autumn months. Aside from pumpkin-flavored everything and the start of football season, one of the biggest highlights of this season is the Halloween holiday. Small businesses are in a great position to leverage their working capital during this non-bank holiday and turn it into increased store or site traffic, which can lead to a boost in sales.
Unlike the major bank holidays, like Christmas or Memorial Day, the majority don’t get the day off work to celebrate. This means the extended sales or promotions campaigns designed to attract individuals off for the day aren’t as effective at attracting customers. However, there are still plenty of ways small businesses can take advantage of Halloween.
Big sales numbers in store for 2016
During 2015, U.S. consumers spent an average of $74.34 per person on their favorite candy and costumes for Halloween for a grand total of $6.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. This number is projected to rise significantly for 2016. The source noted that more than 171 million Americans are expected to spend an average of $82.93 per person, for a whopping $8.4 billion in anticipated sales this Halloween season.
“After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy, while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event.”
With such a high amount of anticipated sales to look forward to, small business owners need to pull out all the stops in ensuring they’re capturing these holiday shoppers.
Decorate the shop or website
This is almost a no-brainer. Sprucing up a storefront with spiderwebs and decorative pumpkins and gourds is a great way to get shoppers in the mood for the holiday and open up their wallets. Retail stores that sell Halloween-related merchandise should ensure this merchandise is placed front and center for customers to see when they enter the shop.
E-commerce sites can also take part in the festivities with a simple site redesign that adds some holiday effects. In addition, Halloween is a good time to utilize an onsite overlay to highlight promotions as an online shopper leaves the site. This display can offer a special promotion, like free shipping, if the customer purchases before a certain date to further sweeten the deal and generate a conversion.
Remind shoppers about abandoned carts
It’s easy to shop online for a while and get distracted before finishing the purchase. Sometimes shoppers want to wait until their next paycheck before buying what they’ve got their eyes set on, only to forget about it completely. According to MultiChannel Merchant, e-commerce sites see around 70 percent of customers abandon their online shopping carts before purchasing. During the holidays, when many shoppers are conducting comparison pricing with competitors, this number can be even higher. Customizing remarking emails to specifically identify those items left behind in the shopping cart – perhaps even with an additional incentive – can be a good reminder to nudge these individuals along and finalize their transactions.
Pump up the social
With visual collateral making such a big splash on social, Halloween is a great time to post photos and videos, and share them on the different social media channels. Whether it’s photos of employees in costumes, or a video showcasing the office’s decorations, posting this visual collateral on social media is a great way to humanize a small business and make it more relatable for customers and clients.
In addition, since Halloween is all about fun and games, consider hosting a contest with social media followers who can compete for special offers from the company. An online scavenger hunt to spooky websites, or a pumpkin or costume contest with photos uploaded to the site for judging are just a few of the ways to take advantage of this holiday season. As people upload their photos to the site, they’ll share them with friends and family, further spreading brand awareness and increasing the company’s online presence.
Take advantage of alternative financing
When big opportunities for growth come along, it’s imperative that small businesses have the available working capital necessary to take advantage of these situations. Halloween is a great time of year to target and attract shoppers who are out to spend money and enjoy the holiday. Even companies that aren’t in the retail space can still run Halloween promotions or take part in the festivities.
Small businesses that don’t have the extra working capital should consider using a small business loan or merchant cash advance from an alternative lender to get easy and fast access to the funds they need to truly leverage the Halloween shopping season into bigger sales.