With summer now little more than a distant memory and the nights already starting to draw in, the change in season is good news for retailers as it heralds a surge in consumer spending. In this article we discuss recent trends in consumer spending at this time of year and share some tips to help you kick start your own seasonal marketing efforts.

It’s around now that consumers start to ramp-up their spending. In 2016 the UK Card Association reported a Q4 rise in spending of a whopping £4.6 billion compared to Q3. (source: UK Card Association), whilst Barclaycard reported record high spending last year in October and November 2016, up by 5.5% and 5.1% respectively (source: Barclaycard Consumer Spending Report Q4 2016).

No one wants to talk about the ‘C’ word just yet, but the fact is, with just 3 months to go, pre-Christmas retail sales are already starting to build. Consumer spending at this time of year is influenced heavily by seasonal events like the return to school, Halloween and Black Friday of course, but it’s now that well-organised shoppers start buying for Christmas.

A word of caution. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your seasonal promotions too late – your customers could well have made the bulk of their purchases by the time you roll out your seasonal offerings.

If you’re left scratching your head or are in need of a bit of inspiration, read on for 8 seasonal retail marketing ideas.

1. Set up a re-marketing campaign

Re-marketing or re-targeting campaigns as they are also known, are primarily used by Google Adwords and Facebook advertisers, and essentially allow your ads to ‘follow’ potential customers around the internet as they browse other websites. If you’re already a Google Adwords or Facebook advertiser, setting up a re-marketing campaign won’t be too difficult.

Re-marketing campaigns that promote specific products or services that people have previously looked at on your website, tend to provide a higher conversion rate too. Possibly because on the first visit, people are just at the research phase; a few days later, and after being reminded of the product again and again, the customer who might otherwise have forgotten all about it, may now be ready to follow through and make that purchase.

2. Follow up and target existing customers

Rewarding customers for shopping with you is a great way to get repeat business. Try creating an email campaign that tells customers about your new season stock and send all recent customers a discount or free delivery code, which will encourage them to shop with you again and make a repeat purchase.

3. Sell off summer stock

Get rid of your summer stock by launching a big summer sale before autumn takes a hold and temperatures start to plummet. If you’re smart, the lure of the savings will also mean you’ll have the perfect opportunity to show customers your premium new Autumn/Winter stock too.

4. Appeal to the back to school/college/university market

Back to school is the big theme currently, so if you sell any products that are suitable for the school, college or university market, now is the time to create and market a relevant collection.

Remember though that whilst young children are generally back at school by the first week in September, it’s not too late to target University students. Those moving to university don’t generally start for a few weeks yet, and will often require household basics like duvets, toasters and so on well into early autumn.

5. Facilitate early Christmas demand

Just because you aren’t thinking about Christmas in September, that doesn’t mean your customers aren’t. Indeed, many families find it necessary to spread the cost of Christmas over 2 or 3 pay packets, making now the right time to start targeting those early Christmas shoppers.

You could capitalise on this by reminding people (through a blog article, website banner, social media activity, email campaign etc) how many shopping days there are left until Christmas and even release some pre-Christmas deals on products that would make good gifts without, making your content scream Christmas, which this early on, could prove a turn-off to some.

6. Benefit from the growth in Halloween spending

Walk through any UK supermarket during October and you’ll find that Halloween has now evolved into multiple isles rammed full of spooky merchandise, where just a few years ago there might have been half an isle of kids Halloween costumes and sweets for Trick or Treaters.

With 5% annual growth in sales between 2015 and 2016 (Source: Mintel Halloween More a Delight Than a Fright), Halloween in the UK is now a big deal.

According to Mintel 40% of Brits spent money on Halloween in 2015, growing at a rate of 5% per year

From Raven printed cushions to cobweb earrings, through to anything at all that’s black or vaguely Gothic, it’s the perfect opportunity to curate and promote a seasonal collection.

Even if you don’t have any products that fit the season, Halloween provides a great opportunity to engage your customers in a fun way; from social media staff selfies in fancy dress, to competitions asking people to share pictures of their pet in costume.

7. Apply the “Buy once, buy well” message to premium goods

Capitalise on the burgeoning “buy once, buy well” movement. The theory being that it’s better to invest in quality and have something last a lifetime, than it is to buy cheaply and end up having to replace the cheaper items multiple times.

Tapping into this way of thinking isn’t as difficult as you think and creates a completely different value proposition. Don’t make the mistake though of applying it to products too generously; shoppers are looking for premium quality products that are built to last, often with lifetime guarantees.

8. Target voucher code websites

Voucher code websites are increasingly used by savvy shoppers looking for a great deal. Some, like Hot UK Deals even allow members to vote on them, and a ‘hot’ voucher code can very quickly go viral.

As a rule of thumb, you won’t get much traction unless you’re offering a decent discount, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you must discount your entire range. A single popular product with a sizeable temporary discount, or a free delivery voucher code for orders over a certain value can work brilliantly.

Need a helping hand?

It’s all very well and good reading ideas to boost your sales, but in practice how do you actually curate a collection of content, create a landing page and drive traffic to it? If you run a promotion and no on knows about it, then it’s doomed to fail.

Here are Surefire, we help our clients out by doing everything possible to amplify the reach of your promotions. We can create seasonal landing pages that rank well in organic search, write content for your blog that people will actually want to read, run and manage creative social media campaigns to engage your followers and much more!

To find out more, why not get in touch for a chat today?

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