Treat: Six strategies to help hype Halloween
By Teresa P. Lanker
Halloween is a blossoming holiday among retailers.
Adults seem to have grasped this formerly kids-only holiday and made it
their own. Check out the costume aisles at area discount stores, and
you’ll find as many adult costumes as children’s. Halloween decorations,
both cute and chic, are also in heavy supply in all sorts of retailers,
from discount stores to department stores.
So how can you capitalize on this “nonflower holiday”?
With Halloween purchases being largely impulse, chances are you’ll need
both tricks and treats! Use “tricks” to attract customers to your flower
shop, and then provide treats so they’re glad they came.
Stock the store with fun and festive merchandise,
display it artfully, and plan alluring promotions; impulse sales will
follow. Whether you approach Halloween with a single promotion or a
month-long series of events, the following sampler of “trick-and-treat”
ideas can bewitch your customers.
Trick: Kick off a “Halloween Happening” or a “Fall
Festival” event for a day, a weekend or an entire month. Include
a “clear the decks” pre-Christmas sidewalk sale, with special
value coupons on Halloween and autumn merchandise for regular
Treat: Plan a
schedule of classes and demonstrations featuring shop employees
and/or local artisans. Try topics such as cooking with pumpkin;
aromatherapy; how to make a seasonal fruit, gourmet or gift
basket; and even artful pumpkin carving (be sure to sell the
kits!). Highlight a line of Halloween giftware with an artist
appearance and signing.
Trick: Offer “Mix-and-Match Madness” all month long. Give
customers choices among popular Halloween and fall decorating
items in any combination for one special price. Try bundled
pumpkins, cornstalks and hay bales in any mix-and-match
combination at three for $10. Create similar specials with items
ranging from mum plants, bunches of orange carnations, and
“spider” mums to scary carnivorous flowers and plants such as
pitcher plants (either Sarracenia or Nepenthes),
Venus’s-flytraps and so on.
Treat: Bump up
sales with a free gift for purchases more than a selected dollar
value. Keep the gift in line with the fall feeling, perhaps a
candy-corn-filled bud vase with a water-tubed flower on top.
Trick: Help customers “Fall in Love” with an in-store
fall and winter wedding show featuring beautiful fresh flowers
and other wedding finery. Clear a section of the sales floor,
set up a theater-style area of chairs and present, “Flowers
Without Fear: Spook-Free Lessons on How to Plan Your Wedding
Flowers.” Offer two or three sessions on a single day or a
couple of evening sessions during a weeklong event.
autumn-inspired refreshments such as pumpkin bars and warm apple
cider. Or simplify the food function by inviting local caterers
to bring in samples from their wedding menus along with company
brochures. Offer a special promotion on Halloween inventory for
wedding guests only.
Trick: Sponsor an autumn home-and-garden tour featuring
the homes of special clients. Decorate each home with fresh and
permanent custom floral enhancements accessorized with Halloween
or other autumn giftware. Have a staff member serve as host or
hostess at each home. Have your flower shop be the final stop on
the tour, and be sure to prominently feature displays of the
shop merchandise shown in each home. Coordinate the event to
benefit a local charity.
musicians to circulate through the shop and, perhaps, the homes
as well, providing live music as they stroll. Include a discount
coupon for merchandise in your shop on each tour ticket stub,
with a limited-time offer on Halloween merchandise.
Trick: Host a contest with an autumn theme. A costume
contest is the obvious choice, but that may attract only those
who like to dress up. For something different, consider a
scarecrow decorating contest, a fall photography contest or a
pumpkin pie baking contest followed by a pie eating contest.
Treat: Use floral
products as prizes for contest participants. Recognize everyone
as a winner with a single flower and ribbon.
Trick: Celebrate the season with a special “Kids’ Day”
event. Combine concepts and include contests, kids’ classes,
entertainment and refreshments. Partner with other area
merchants for an afternoon of trick-or-treating along several
participants special kids-only coupons for exclusive deals on
balloons, plush and, of course, flowers. Provide entertainment
by kids for kids at scheduled intervals throughout the day. This
guarantees an audience of proud parents and grandparents, so be
sure there are plenty of adult-friendly Halloween incentives