Brick-and-mortar small businesses have a competitive advantage over larger outlets. They can position themselves as part of the community, offering customer service and local knowledge big competitors cannot. Halloween is one of those rare holidays when engaging with the community is encouraged, as kids go door-to-door asking for candy and adults get creative with costumes and libations at parties.
Halloween is a unique opportunity for you to raise the profile of your small business within your neighborhood. Take a proactive approach with promotions, decorations, sales, as well as partnerships with other stores. You can develop ongoing goodwill by offering a service to community groups and gain new customers who have never experienced your store before.
Offer Space to Community Groups
Halloween comes with many activities that surround trick-or-treating and everything about costumes, pumpkins and fall. Many charities and youth groups organize Halloween activities, such as pumpkin carving, decorating and candy exchanging. Offer space in your store to these groups so they don’t have to rent. You can also sponsor the group by providing supplies and putting promotional information in your store.
Distribute Halloween Supplies
Your store can give out freebies many families want, like bags for trick-or-treating. Printing your store logo or name on the bag is subtle advertising for your business and keeps you front-of-mind to potential customers. You can also make custom treats by bundling candy in branded packaging. If you sell healthy food, you can run a promotion where you give out healthy treat samples as an alternative to candy. Just put a sign outside inviting parents and kids to come in and give them a try.
Make It a Block Party
Your fellow businesses are some of your best allies in driving customer engagement. Run a “shop local” promotion leading up to Halloween, or get together with other stores to have a block-wide Halloween celebration. Every store could commit to giving away one treat each to kids before 5 p.m., for example, or sell Halloween-themed inventory at a discount as part of a sidewalk sale.
Decorate Your Storefront and Website
Eye-catching decorations are one way to attract new walk-in traffic to your business. Even service businesses can benefit from Halloween’s fun nature. Whether you’re a travel agency, insurance office or hair salon, seasonal decorations increase visibility and give a welcoming impression. Anyone who might be intimidating from entering your location might be put at ease by a whimsical bat, spider web or fake skeleton. Encourage employees to dress up on Halloween day, and don’t forget to add a cute “Boo!” to your website or social media pages.
Bring in Halloween Flavor
Halloween comes around as people are finally saying goodbye to summer and have eased into the fall routine. Celebrate the season with flavors of the holiday, especially if you run a food business. Pumpkin, spice, apples, cinnamon and other fall tastes are particularly popular and will draw in new customers looking for a treat.
However you decide to celebrate Halloween, tell your community. Post your promotions to your Facebook and Instagram pages. Place signage outside your main entrance and in your store windows. The most essential part of community engagement is interacting with new and old customers, so chat up your Halloween celebrations when people come in during early October and as the season approaches.