Halloween spending was close to $7 billion in 2015. By 2017, consumers spent over $9 billion. A lot of excitement and fun goes into decorating your store for Halloween, but what can you do to keep the momentum going during the month of November? Here are 3 clever marketing ideas for November fun.
November’s calendar is filled with more “holidays” than Thanksgiving. Here are just a few that would make a social media splash.
What a perfect occasion to offer a special discount or extra Rewards points. Use this day to celebrate your customers. Perhaps make a donation to a particular charity for every dollar spent that day. Or, just send an extremely uplifting email to each of your customers thanking them for their kind support.
Hello! This one is right up your alley. Choose a particular charity and ask for donations. For the humane society, request donations of old towels and blankets. Send donations of children’s used winter coats to the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation. Collect gently used shoes to give to Soles4Souls. Or, provide a bin for donations of women’s clothing to Dress For Success.
This one speaks for itself. Promoting the sustainability of shopping locally is the key to success for small businesses. Take part in the Shop Small Saturday festivities in your area.
User Generated Content (UGC) is more valuable than any other type of advertising. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself. The following 3 marketing ideas come from ShortStack. They offer free templates for each one of these contests. No matter which one you choose, make sure the prizes are worthy of your customer’s efforts.
Customers submit holiday recipes through a ShortStack recipe contest form. Narrow them down to the top 3 and have your followers vote for their favorite. The winner receives dinner at a local restaurant. Create a pdf of all the recipes and offer it free as your store’s holiday cookbook.
Choose a theme. The Perfect Fall Day, Family Holiday Feast or Our Thanksgiving Tradition make for fun photo contests. Use a free photo template from ShortStack. Customers upload a past or current photo for the chance to win 1 of several prizes.
Sometimes the easiest contest for everyone is just an entry form. Use a ShortStack contest form to gather email addresses. Give away a holiday gift basket, merchandise or a combination of the two.
Instead of offering incentives to your shoppers, offer them to your employees. When your employees are excited, everyone’s happy. Focus on the people who make your business a success. Show them how thankful you are for the hard work they’ve done. Read 4 incentive ideas to energize employees. Up their sales goals for the month of November and reward them handsomely when they reach them. Encourage them to take care of themselves with pampering gift baskets or gift cards. Feature each employee on your social media and post why you’re especially thankful for them.
For a couple of years now, I’ve put together a 4th quarter holiday marketing calendar to keep you on track for this important season. I’ve updated it for 2018. Be sure to print off a copy to review with your staff. The link is at the bottom of this page.
Inventory reduction. Clear out all summer, back-to-school or any other merchandise that’s now seasonally outdated. Read 17 brilliant ideas for inventory reduction. Once Labor Day is here, so is fall. If you haven’t done it already, sit down with staff and calendar in hand to map out your strategy. Take note of any special fall activities happening in your community. Plan to participate in a Fall Festival, Oktoberfest, local football weekends or any other autumn community event. Build your email list before the holidays hit by placing a sign-up sheet by your register. Read 14 simple ways to build your store’s email list.
Halloween spooktacular. Your windows and shop interior are completely decorated with fall colors and Halloween merchandise. Planning should be under way if you’re hosting a Halloween event. Read 5 Halloween Ideas to Draw Shoppers in. Consider a “Trick or Treats for Grownups” evening; a Halloween coloring page contest for the kids or a photo contest featuring costumes or home decor created with items from your shop. Remember, user-generated content makes the biggest impact. So encourage participants to post, tweet or pin photos of themselves at your events. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself. Check all of your online listings too. Encourage shoppers to leave a review if you feel they had a great experience.
Shop Small. Autumn officially begins on Saturday, September 22. Now’s the time to review your internal processes as you plan for the holiday shopping season. Slow lines at checkout are a killer. How can you improve? Read 13 ways to improve your consignment shop cash wrap. What about your intake process? Make sure you’re able to handle the influx of shoppers as well as the need for seasonal merchandise. When was the last time you took a serious look at your shop? Clean dressing rooms, bathrooms, floors and windows can make a big impression. Sign up now to participate in Shop Small Saturday on Saturday, November 24. Contact the other shops around you to see if they’re participating. Determine the type of specials you’ll offer on that day too.
Mobile marketing. Preparations for your Halloween event should be well under way. Print bag stuffers to promote your event and hang signs in your front window. Map out your email campaign and how you will promote the event on all of your social media. Read Are you sure your business is mobile friendly? Make sure your emails are optimized for viewing on mobile phones. You’ll also want to create incentives to bring shoppers back with coupons, additional rewards points or future events. Consider offering a deal if items are bought before Wednesday, November 22. Order any gift cards or gift certificates shoppers can use as Christmas gifts. Be sure to purchase small, holiday impulse-buy items for your register too. Now’s the time to finalize your Christmas window decor.
Seasonal employees. Our holiday marketing calendar continues. Slip those Halloween event flyers into every shopper’s bag and get your email campaign under way. Because employees are walking, talking billboards for your store, run a fun in-store competition. Let your employees choose clever costumes they’ll wear during the week of Halloween. Have customers secretly vote for their favorite. Offer a gift card to the winner. Now’s the time to also interview for seasonal help. Read The ultimate guide for hiring the best part-time employees. Bob Negan of WhizBang! offers these tips: “Focus on hiring people who are quick learners … who enjoy a fast-paced environment, who are willing to do any kind of work…and who are extremely friendly.” Hopefully, you’re locating other shops in your area who are participating in the Shop Small event. Discuss with them the possibility of a shop crawl, sidewalk sale or treasure hunt.
Showing thanks. It’s time to put Halloween aside and focus on November. The Thanksgiving season is a perfect time for community involvement and generating goodwill. Read 5 tips for a Successful Store Event for some quick planning ideas. Consider having a canned food drive for your local food bank. A winter coat, hat and mittens drive for a homeless shelter. Blankets, towels and animal toy donations are wonderful for your local humane society. Children’s shops could collect toys and clothing for your local pregnancy center’s baby store. Many charities even provide a donation container for you. Arrange to have the organization pick up donations afterwards. Finalize with other shops how you plan to market Shop Small Saturday.
Community involvement. Evaluate what needs to be changed from Halloween to Thanksgiving decor. How will you change your in-store signage and your front window? Can you capitalize on any local events such as your town’s football team, homecoming dances, Veteran’s Day parades or fall festivals? Use this holiday marketing calendar to begin planning your shop’s Christmas event. Outline a calendar for additional employees, food and beverages, special merchandise and prizes. Your exciting and fun Halloween event should take place next week unless you’re actually holding it on Halloween. Begin teasing Christmas with emails about upcoming merchandise, special surprises and extended shopping hours. Read Squeeze more out of your holiday marketing budget.
Christmas promotions. This week, your employees should have fun wearing a variety of costumes, handing out candy and promoting your Halloween event. Take lots of pictures to post on social media. Be prepared to name the winner of your in-store costume contest and post their photo everywhere. Christmas is 8 weeks away. Begin gathering and storing your Christmas window decor items. Read Holiday window displays on a budget. It’s time to determine your Christmas promotions past Black Friday and/or Shop Small Saturday. Whether you choose a one-time event or something as simple as offering Christmas cookies and hot cider throughout the month, start planning. Contact a local high school or senior citizen group to see if they will offer free holiday gift wrapping in return for a charitable donation. If you’re participating in a local Thanksgiving donation drive, create your social media schedule, bag stuffers and signage now.
Sales Training. If your consignment or resale shop is open on Mondays, you may see some last-minute costume shoppers. As far as you’re concerned, Halloween is over and you’re headed full steam ahead to the biggest shopping season of the year. Set up definitive times for sales training for your employees and review policies for such things as shoplifting. Read Be Prepared for Shoplifters. Make sure they’re familiar with the current brands of merchandise you offer and how to cross sell products. If you’re going to add extended hours for the holidays, now is the time to begin promoting those. Your Shop Small and holiday hours signage should be in your window. Stay steady on all of your social media. If you’re struggling for ideas, post pics of new employees, tweet photos from a different angle of items that haven’t sold yet or take a funny team selfie.
Exceptional customer service. Begin your donation drive this week. Be sure your staff is thankful and recognizes everyone who takes the opportunity to donate. Take photos of your staff with shoppers who are donating. If you have chosen not to do a donation drive, have your staff tie in with the season of thanks in a special way. For instance, they can hand out “Thank You” cards with return incentives. Read 3 sure fire consignment cross-selling and upselling tips. Schedule team sales goals, holiday parties and sales rewards for recognizing exceptional customer service during the Christmas holiday. In-store holiday signage that gives clear instructions should be ready to be put up in a week. Determine your top 25 – 50 customers and send them a special invitation for holiday shopping. All of your Shop Small Saturday plans should be finalized and clearly explained to your staff.
Holiday magic. The holiday marketing calendar moves into week 6. It’s time to transition to Christmas decor with Thanksgiving one week away. Holiday signage indoors and out should be in place. Your Shop Small and/or Black Friday event marketing is under way. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas should fill your shop. Remember, your front window is your biggest billboard. Create Christmas windows that are magical, drawing customers in. They must reinforce the quality of merchandise shoppers will find inside. Your staff, including those part-timers you’ve added, should know their holiday schedules, especially what’s required of them for Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday. Read How to nurture your best and most motivated employees. Your donation drive ends later this week.
Review policies. Thanksgiving week is a huge transition. You, your staff and your shop completely transform from fall to Christmas. It’s time to set the stage for the holidays. Review store policies for such things as layaways, rewards points and wish lists. Inform your staff of any new merchandise that has come in the store. Double check that the flow for shopping and final check-out is clearly marked. Now’s the time to begin thinking like your shoppers. Their mindset has changed. They’re no longer shopping for themselves, but for others. Change the conversation to, “Who are you buying for this year?” Read Increase store traffic with these holiday ideas. Thursday, November 22 is Thanksgiving. Friday, November 23 is Black Friday and Saturday, November 24 is Shop Small Saturday. Looking ahead, Sunday and Monday the 25th and 26th are Cyber holidays.
Digital greetings. I feel a bit like Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 with my holiday marketing calendar countdown, but we are now just one month away. Tuesday, November 27 is “Giving Tuesday” so be sure to share lots of photos of your charity donations. Your holiday hours and special shopping incentives should be promoted regularly through social media and emails. Don’t send too many emails. During this busy holiday season, customers start deleting more out of stress. Send email messages that are relevant and fun. Read Send clever, digital greetings this holiday to get some ideas for Christmas greetings to send to your customers. Planning for inventory reduction and winter decor after the first of the year should start now.
Go the extra mile. Continue to energize your staff. Encourage them to wear Santa hats or ugly Christmas sweaters and hand out candy canes to everyone who comes in the door. Give them a reason to interact with each shopper. Read 6 simple strategies to snag a savvy shopper. Shift your merchandise to make your store look fresh and new, so customers will want to return. If you’re in an area where weather is an issue, make sure your outside is as clean as the inside of the store. Your freebies should also begin…free gift wrap, free concierge or free delivery. Next Monday is known as Green Monday. If you do online sales, this is the time to begin pushing your holiday merchandise online. Check out SimpleConsign’s Simple AdKiosks.
Lead the charge. As Bob Negen says, “There’s a time to work ‘on‘ your business and a time to work ‘in’ your business.” Be on the sales floor interacting with staff and shoppers. Who doesn’t like to be personally assisted by the owner of the company? Use your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to heighten excitement about new merchandise arriving. Our seasonal countdown wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about the coming New Year. Be thinking and planning for changes and additions you would like to see in your shop in 2019. Friday, December 14 is known as Free Shipping Day. If shipping is at all part of your business, try to offer it free.
Brand Ambassadors. By now, shoppers and staff are frazzled. This is a key week to create brand ambassadors for your store. If you and your staff can show patience, kindness and an extra willingness to be helpful, you will have customers for life. Doing extra things for your staff this week can go a long way too. Bring cookies, fruit or pastries in the morning; give special handwritten thank you notes and sincere compliments to boost morale and attitudes. Read 4 incentive ideas to energize employees. Take care of yourself too. Read How to beat the resale business owner blues. Sign up to receive Your Consignment Business Check Up.
Whew! You survived. Congratulations! I hope this checklist made your life just a little easier. If you’d like to download a copy of the 4th Quarter Marketing Calendar to share with your staff, do so here. Merry Christmas from all of us at Traxia!