Let’s Talk Business for October 13, 2023

We all know that Halloween falls on October 31st every year. So why do we see decorations and other holiday-related merchandise in stores long before then? According to a professor of economics at Virginia Tech, this strategy allows retailers to attract the early-bird shoppers and capture a larger share of the holiday spending.

Since a holiday like Halloween often leads to significant spending, businesses often stock their shelves with costumes, candy, and more in August, September, and early October. This strategy can also lure in consumers who like to spread out their holiday spending over time. They may spend a little at a time over a period of three months so they don’t have to dish out a ton of cash at once.

If a business waits until the last week of October to offer Halloween merchandise, their sales are sure to suffer. At this point, most consumers have already completed their holiday purchases at other stores who have sold everything they need weeks or even months prior. Whether you’re a new retailer or have been around for quite some time, these tips can help you succeed during the holidays.

Understand high-traffic holiday periods: Retail peak season is often during holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. If it makes sense for your unique business, it’s a good idea to take advantage of all of these periods.

Use promotional signs and banners: Make it known that you’re offering holiday merchandise or hosting holiday sales by incorporating attractive signage throughout your brick-and-mortar and online stores.

Sync your inventory: If you sell online and in-person, keep your inventory synced up. This will limit out-of-stocks and canceled orders.

Offer special deals to loyal customers: Make the most of your loyalty program. Promote exclusive holiday discounts or sales to current customers.

Ensure a seamless online experience: A slow-loading website or glitches during the checkout process can deter customers and convince them to turn to your competitors for their holiday purchases. Test your website and implement changes that will support increased traffic.

Wrap gifts: Make life easier for your customers through gift-wrapping services. With a bit of wrapping paper, ribbons, and branded cards, you can boost your profits and satisfy your audience.

Don’t panic: The holiday season can be a crazy time for retailers. Do your best to stay calm and logical so you can make smart decisions. Don’t be afraid to outsource or hire additional help to get you through this time.

By selling holiday merchandise early and following the tips listed above, you can win during the holiday season and beyond. Good luck!

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce offers many resources to help you start, run, and grow your business–including our annual Leadership Emporia Academy, monthly Group Lunches, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, Legislative Dialogues, and more. Stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St., call 620-342-1600, or visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org to learn more.

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“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.