October 19, 2020

Yes, COVID is Creepy, But These 2020 E-Commerce Halloween Hacks Should Do the Trick

Halloween, like everything else, is going to look a lot different this year.

Without diving back into the elephant in the room, Coronavirus, let’s just say Halloween – a holiday with a premise of extensive interaction with strangers – will not be as easily executable for children or their parents as the joyous and economically stimulating event it is every year.

Instead, there will need to be a fair amount of improvisation. And what we’ve decided to do is help you work around the constraints which might affect other brands… but of course not yours, since you decided to click this link and learn ways to outsmart the virus.

So, let’s dive right into some of those “Halloween Hacks” as we’ll call them. Hopefully, even if you don’t use all of these, they’ll give you a starting point to work from and perhaps even inspire other great ideas to make the most of a tough situation.

Let’s begin.

1. Halloween is on a Saturday this year. Think beyond trick-or-treat hours and night time events.

Keep this in mind. Rather than holidays that take place on a specific day of the week like most Federal holidays, Halloween is the 31st. Like it or not, you have to work around perhaps having it fall on a Tuesday. This year, however, the 31st is a Saturday.

This is a big win for brands and probably for the consumer in the end. Having it fall out on a  day when most people are off from school and work is a major plus because it gives those who choose to celebrate the time to devote to the holiday.

This kind of feels like a dog being thrown a bone in the case of 2020. Socially distant park hangs, costumes being visible throughout the day, opportunities with friends and family that are outside of that trick-ot-treat post-work/school window… all wins for everyone.

Think of the entire weekend as the holiday. Not just one evening. And again, with trick-or-treating likely limited or non-existent this is just another element to our new normal worth considering if you’re a merchant of any kind.

2. Decorations will be more creative and matter more this year

Similarly to what we saw with graduation towards the earlier part of quarantine, balloon arrangements, signs, outdoor or backyard party decor, and spirited messages in the form of decorations will be even more important than they normally are.

When surveyed, 37% of mothers said they expected to decorate their homes’ exterior, and 35%  say they plan to decorate inside. To tap into that trend, eCommerce sellers can offer suggested items for decorating even weeks ahead of the holiday.

Keeping things spooky is still very much doable and can be executed safely without any issues involving potential virus-spread.

3. Trunk-or-treating IS going to be a thing. Adapt or miss out!

Decorations are also expected to be in demand to decorate cars for this year’s socially-distanced twist on trick-or-treating: trunk or treating. This is going to be the alternative to walking around.

Instead of approaching the home’s door to receive treats, kids are to take items out of open car trunks identified by their decorations as being set out for just that purpose.

While maybe less interactive and possibly less fun, this is something that many homeowners already did. And if scaled, this could still be a good time and socially distant.

4. Costumes for adults – normally a hit anyway – will keep us all from losing our minds and give us the festiveness we so desperately need

Costumes for kids will do well this year, but I think besides just my hunch that all of us want to dress up right now and live vicariously through whatever character we decide on for Halloween, the data suggests that adult costumes will have another big year.

Insight to Action found that 35% of mothers planned to purchase costumes for their kids. That said, adults also want to get in on the fun of dressing up, and a third said they’d be buying Halloween costumes for themselves or other adults.

Some of this year’s costume trends will likely include:

  • Costumes that make the most of the masks we’ve been wearing to reduce the spread.
  • Zoom-worthy costumes that — like the outfits people wear for such meetings — focus on what will be seen on the screen, with attention to the face, hair, and accessories around them.
  • Showing off matching costumes for the whole family, even pets.

5. Think of the at-home virtual Halloween experience… even though, yes, it’s kind of sad

While they are less likely to show off their costumes in large parties, those celebrating Halloween may still have smaller get-togethers at home or connect with others virtually. Social media sharing will likely also be substituted for some of the in-person interactions of previous years.

You can capitalize on that shift by offering what will make the at-home celebrations more special, whether it centers on edible delights or Halloween-themed crafts. Suggested marketing possibilities include kits for activities or the implements and serving pieces that lend the Halloween touch to recommended recipes.

Spending on Halloween has been rising over the past several years. On that basis, Insight to Action anticipates that 2020’s spending may even exceed the $86 average that was forecasted by the National Retail Foundation last year.

Think of the ‘Instagrammable’ Halloween moment more than usual this year. People will want to capture that hilarious costume idea or their cute and cozy jack o lantern or social distant outdoor get together.

6. Fall marketing can inform your holiday marketing

After the calendar page flips to November, you can transition to more general fall themes that may still feature pumpkins even if they are not jack-o-lanterns. The e-commerce businesses that market effectively can capitalize on this opportunity.

Fall is a great time to learn more about your customers’ interests and preferences.

From September through November, you can test which offers convert most effectively by sending out different incentives at different times, like percentages off, gift cards, bonus offers, free expedited shipping, and flash sales on everything orange.

The data you pick up on now can inform your Christmas marketing with the right message going to the right person. Now is the time to start sending out those Halloween marketing emails and follow up to drive greater holiday sales in 2020.

Good luck out there. Stay socially spooky!

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