Retail Evolution

Four Ways Retailers Can Win Halloween

Stephanie Shein-Berman
Sales Director

Halloween sales are expected to hit $9 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation, and candy is a huge piece of that pie. In fact, confection is the largest category purchased for Halloween: according to research by Hershey, 69 percent of Halloween shoppers buy Halloween candy[1]. That’s more than double the next category, which is Halloween indoor decorations[2].

Of course, candy doesn’t sell itself. From experiential displays to stocking varying bag types in the right place at the right time, there are a number of steps retailers can take to boost sales and win at Halloween this year. Here’s how:

  1. Start early. If your town is anything like my town, you’ve been seeing yards decked out in pumpkins, inflatable ghosts and partially buried skeletons since late September. Halloween seems to start earlier every year in the eyes of consumers, which means retailers have a great opportunity for a longer season. If you didn’t do it this year, aim to start stocking your shelves for Halloween right after back-to-school ends next year.
  2. Have a range of pack sizes to give consumers what they want, when they want it. When it comes to Halloween candy, consumers are focused on the brands that they love and the count within the bag. Some shoppers will opt for large bags with top brands while others will choose multiple small bags of their own favorites so that they can mix-and-match (and snack while doing so). It’s important to have a variety of offerings to that shoppers can find what they want. Also, retailers should keep in mind that the count the shopper is after will change depending on the timing. Early in the season, shoppers tend to pick up one or two small bags of candy at a time and then come back for more. Closer to Halloween, they come in to get the higher price-point bags, with the sole purpose of handing the candy out to trick-or-treaters.
  3. Build displays that create an emotional connection. Halloween is a visual—and fun—holiday, and that should come across in your displays. At the end of the Halloween aisle, a themed, candy-filled end cap or palette can act as a guide to show consumers where to go for all of their seasonal items. A “wow” display is also an effective way to put shoppers in a Halloween state of mind. To create that “wow” component, designate space at the front of the store to build an experiential display that’s bright, colorful and even a little bit spooky. Here, you can even lean on brand partners for creative help. Our team at Hershey, for example, creates different in-store displays that set the stage for the season. The one-of-a-kind displays jump out, with hutches and arches printed with black cats, broomsticks, witches, ghosts and, of course, the shopper’s favorite candy brands. We encourage retailers to get as creative as possible, wrapping the displays with webbing or placing skulls or other décor around to further set the mood.
  4. Keep the Halloween aisle stocked until Halloween is officially over. As the actual holiday approaches, some retailers get antsy. Their stock is hard to maintain. Hurried shoppers have left shelves in disarray. For many, the instinct is to move Halloween out and the next season in. But it’s important to stick to the planogram and wait until the holiday is over before moving anything.

    Here’s why: for the entire week of Halloween, it’s all about the aisle for consumers. While "wow" displays may have grabbed them last week, this week they know what they want and they’re making a beeline to the aisle to grab that big bag of candy and get home to the trick-or-treaters. Do your best to make it easy for them. Keep the aisle as stocked and organized as you can, placing the most popular-selling items in the “strike zone” which is three to four shelves from the top, and eye level for shoppers. That way, they find what they want, they leave happy, and, hopefully, when Christmas rolls around, they think about your store first for their seasonal shopping needs.  



[1] Hershey Seasonal Tracker, Halloween 2017

[2] Hershey Seasonal Tracker, Halloween 2017