Seasonal spirit is the secret sauce of the retail world. As consumers, we remain forever on the verge of conversion — fighting against our inner eagerness to buy everything we see — so when the special packaging and limited-edition items hit the scene, our wallets bear the brunt. Why else would Christmas-themed products start to filter into stores before autumn is out?
Right now, the next heavyweight looming over the horizon is the most spooktacular time of year. Yes, Halloween is a sales juggernaut, flooding the market with everything from novelty costumes and candies to chilling decorations and TV specials — and you can get in on that action.
If you run an ecommerce store, you have more operational flexibility than a comparable brick-and-mortar outlet, so you can easily introduce seasonal elements to your product range and marketing efforts. In this piece, we’re going to look at 5 spine-tingling Halloween campaign ideas for resurrecting your revenue. Ready?
Make your theme a scream
When you go trick-or-treating without a costume, you don’t get the same results, because people can tell that you haven’t made an effort. You’re clearly not embracing the spirit of the occasion. In the same way, the presentation of your website will majorly affect how it’s perceived. Adorn your storefront with goblins, ghouls and ominous shades and you’ll have a good chance of enrapturing your visitors.
If you use a standard ecommerce CMS like Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and energy by choosing from various seasonally-appropriate themes (whether free or paid), but you should definitely make an effort to make some manual tweaks. Choose coloring that suits your usual branding but puts a terrifying twist on proceedings.
If you whip up a great aesthetic, you’ll likely find that plenty of people who wouldn’t otherwise have thought about Halloween will view your store in a slightly different way. That altered feeling will exploit the seasonal susceptibility to persuasion that I mentioned in the preamble, ultimately scaring up some fresh sales.
Flaunt your frightful flair
Whether you’re a one-person operation or just one face among an ecommerce team, it’s important to run with the promotional power of personal pageantry. There are numerous social media channels through which you can reach prospective customers, after all. Create some videos and images of your Halloween-themed activities in the run-up to the day itself, then share them on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other channel with value.
What activities, you might ask? Well, have fun with the theme! Wear a halloween costume to work, shoot a moody vignette, or just put in some plastic vampire teeth and say “blegh!” for the camera. If you can work in your products somehow, that’s ideal, but it isn’t strictly necessary. If you can exude enough charisma and enthusiasm, you’ll get people interested in your brand, which will have a positive effect on how they view your products.
And when you’re sharing your monstrous media, keep an eye on relevant trends and hashtags to identify possible crossovers. A staple of the Twitter world like #TBT (throwback Thursday) could easily be adapted for your devilish designs through something comical, such as “Constructing our Halloween costumes from the finest human skin #TBT” (don’t actually use human skin costumes, though — the material isn’t cost-effective).
Write spellbinding screeds
As a seasonal event approaches, relevant posts and articles begin to circulate. This isn’t arbitrary work — it’s a reflection of rising search traffic. People start looking for trivia (how Halloween came about, the weirdest or freakiest movie monsters, etc.), advice (such as how to make a luminous Halloween punch), and inspiration (e.g. the top celebrity Halloween costumes), and brands jump on the chance to bring in more traffic.
You can get a piece of that action if you approach your content production in the right way. Ideally, you’re looking for an overlap between what you know a lot about, what people are looking for, and a gap in the content market — but your primary concern is making something that’s really, really good. If you can manage that, you’ll attract visitors.
What’s particularly useful about Halloween is that it’s a fundamentally creative occasion, so you don’t need to write something informative if that doesn’t suit your style. Here’s one example of how you can rapidly drum up something half-decent: take your main product range and create a showcase piece with a Halloween twist.
Suppose that you sell hats of all kinds, for instance — you could write a piece called “Top Halloween Gifts: Leading Hats Ranked for Spookiness” and give each of your ten top-selling hats a special review for its Halloween viability. It’s a thin premise, but you could have fun with it, it shouldn’t take too long to write, and if people found it entertaining then they’d likely share it, giving the listed products some easy exposure.
Conjure some custom merch
People love limited-edition items. They play into the underlying fear of missing out (FOMO) and the drive to be a part of something while you still can. Halloween themes and seasonal discounts are extremely useful in themselves, but if your product range is essentially static then people won’t have that motivation to buy from you. They’ll want to spend money on Halloween items, whether because they’re fans of the holiday or because they want to fit in on the day.
As such, you should make a concerted effort to introduce some custom Halloween products to your store, stressing that they won’t be around for very long and must be purchased quickly to avoid disappointment. You may already know of the dropshipping model (sites with dropshipping are regularly exchanged because they require little upkeep), but most dropshipping providers feature generic products — not so with Gooten’s customizable print-on-demand functionality.
If your store runs on something like Shopify or Etsy, you can quickly set up and configure Gooten to offer customized dropshipped products. All you need is your Halloween-themed designs, ideally using your brand. Set aside a good amount of time to create some appropriate graphics that will look good on mugs, pens, shirts, etc. That effort will pay off when you see how willing people are to spend liberally on seasonal items.
Enthrall your followers
All the biggest brands have come to love the cascading power of user-generated content (UGC), and you can follow in their footsteps this Halloween. The central thrust of UGC is that you provide the catalyst and the framework, then your followers and customers do all the content creation. This has various benefits: you get free content to flesh out your promotional campaign, you earn plenty of natural social shares, and you encourage people to feel more invested in your brand.
Try coming up with a Halloween challenge that relates to your store — something clear, distinct, and with a memorable name. I previously used the notion of a business that sells hats, so let’s run with that and pitch the hashtag of #HairScare. The challenge? To post an image of the most terrifying hairstyle. The winner receives a small amount of prize money and a hat of their choice to cover up the offending style.
Drumming up positive social media buzz is valuable for any business, but even more so for an online-only business, so a smartly-crafted UGC pitch offers an incredible return on your investment. Why not give it a shot?
Halloween can be a frightfully-profitable time of year if you know how to take advantage of it. Whatever you sell, and however your ecommerce store works, look for a sinister slant on your brand. You’ll make a killing!
About the Author:
Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer whose closet contains a skeleton but (to her tremendous shame) hasn’t attended a Halloween bash in years. You can read more of her work at her Victoria Ecommerce blog.