How to increase footfall over Halloween

Marketing and brand

27 October 2017

Each year consumers are spending more on Halloween. In fact, it’s now the third biggest retail event of the year, having overtaken Valentine’s Day to sit behind only Christmas and Easter.

Forecasters predict Brits will spend around £320 million in 2017. That’s an inflation-busting 3.2% year-on-year growth. So if you haven’t made plans to spookify your staff and stock-up on seasonal treats, you could miss out on this pre-Christmas windfall.

So take a look at our suggestions for how your business can capitalise on the UK’s growing appetite for the macabre.

Dress to impress

Costumes are a big part of the Halloween spirit. For many it’s a bit of fun and escapism, so you want to show you’re on board. Spend time creating a themed window display to impress passers-by, and ask your staff to wear costumes of their own.

To ensure they share your enthusiasm, you can run competitions between employees for the best dressed, most spooky and best customer interaction.

Offer unique products

There’s a reason marketers rank retail events: they’re one-off spending sessions where consumers splash out. To tap into this you’ll need to offer products and services that are only available for a limited time, to tie in with Halloween. It’s called scarcity marketing, and limiting a product’s availability by quantity or time has been shown to boost sales. But you need to get the product right: Brits spent £100 million on Halloween décor and £160 million on costumes last year, so these are good places to start.

Be playful

Halloween treats don't have to be just for kids – your business can spread some of the fun to your adult customers too. Offer free snacks with a Halloween theme, sneak a scare or two into your shop's displays or host themed events your clients can join in with.

Get creative with a lucky-dip prize draw, or a secret spooky menu "leaked" via social media. Unlike standard price promotions, these are all about the experience, which is an increasingly important part of retail, particularly for younger shoppers.

Encourage impulse buys

The growth of Halloween as a retailer’s holiday hasn’t come from people spending more, it’s come from more people spending. A study by market insight firm Mintel found that 46% of consumers spent money on the event in 2016, up from 39% in 2015, and over a third of these shoppers spent money on sweets.

This makes Halloween the perfect time to deploy the supermarket tactic of treats by the tills, and to up-sell those little extras you bring in for the season.

Share and engage

eBay has revealed that its UK site had over two million searches for “Halloween costume” in September and October 2016, so if you want those shoppers to find you, you have to be online. Costumes, games and special treats are ideal Instagram fodder, and promotions or competitions can be shared via Facebook and Twitter.

If you've gone big with your plans, and are really putting on a show, you should also contact local media outlets and bloggers to expand your reach.