Only Treats: Halloween Promises to Be a Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity for Retailers

Tips on how to make the most of this spooky shopping season

With October here, we’re knee-deep in fall fashion, pumpkin spice lattes and most excitingly, Halloween planning. Millions of Americans will be on the hunt for memorable costumes and ghoulish decorations, which means marketing professionals should focus their attention on how best to reach these consumers who are looking to spend. And spend they will: U.S. retailers will rake in an estimated $9.1 billion from Halloween sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

Consumers start buying Halloween items by late September, but NRF reports that 64% of people will begin shopping only in October, and almost a quarter of sales come from late shoppers who purchase in the two weeks leading up to Halloween. This means that it’s not too late for retailers to reach consumers and be top of mind as they start to shop.

The majority of Halloween shoppers will visit brick and mortar locations, including specialty stores, discount stores, and grocery stores. However, keep in mind that online is a key channel at the consideration stage when individuals are browsing and researching products. 35% of consumers say they will browse and shop online for Halloween products this year, opting for convenience over crowds.

So with that, how can marketers best engage with consumers online during the Halloween shopping spell? Here are the three tips to make the biggest impact throughout this spooky season:

1. Plan your online Halloween strategy as early as possible

The weeks leading up to Halloween are extremely competitive as businesses aim to capitalize on the anticipated increased spend on clothing, food and décor. To maximize your online advertising efforts, start running your campaigns far enough in advance to test different types of creative and messaging to see what performs best and optimize accordingly. If you aren’t already doing so, consider supplementing your retargeting campaigns with prospecting campaigns (aimed at consumers who have never visited your site) to grow the pool of individuals who can be exposed to your ads before the height of the season.

2. Don’t forget about mobile

Today’s consumer demands a seamless online shopping experience no matter how they’re connected. Considering that the average American spends over four hours a day on their mobile devices, it’s important that marketers include mobile as part of their digital strategy instead of focusing purely on desktop. Keep in mind that while we continue to see stronger conversion rates from desktop advertising, mobile ads are proven to generate more brand awareness. Intelligent marketing campaigns that reach consumers across all devices will make all the difference during this Halloween season.

3. Use your data to power personalization

With such heavy competition during Halloween (or any other major shopping holiday for that matter), personalization is crucial in order to break through the noise. With programmatic advertising, you can harness the power of your customers’ behavioral data to deliver custom-tailored messaging that is sure to drive stronger engagement and sales. Personalized advertising is also an important tool for building loyalty with your existing customer base; for example, you can offer specific product recommendations based on their purchase history for up- and cross-selling opportunities. Remember that a loyal customer can be five times more valuable than a new customer if the relationship is properly nurtured.

With the numerous blockbuster winter shopping holidays on the horizon, now is the time to craft digital campaigns that will please your customers and keep them coming back to you all year round.

Priya Mony is the Director of Marketing, Americas, at Sociomantic.