According to Forbes, last year Americans spent enough money on candy, costumes, and other Halloween merchandise to surpass the gross domestic product of several smaller European economies. Sorry, Lichtenstein and Monaco.
In fact, the National Retail Federation approximated 2014 Halloween spending at $7.4 billion while the International Council of Shopping Centers pegged the number at $11.3 billion.
Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of candy corn and Avengers costumes.
Halloween is a busy time here at Field Agent. With billions of dollars in consumer spending on the line, companies often call on us to help them win Halloween shoppers.
And now that Halloween products and in-store promotions are hitting stores, we want to illustrate 8 scary good ideas for using mobile audits and research to increase Halloween sales this year.
The photos, videos, and consumer insights to follow are based on a 300-store audit of eight national retail chains across four categories: mass merchandisers, drug stores, dollar stores, and grocery stores. We ultimately audited Halloween candy aisles at all the locations identified on the map below.
1. Audit in-store displays
2. See prices as customers see them
Fear is a natural part of Halloween, especially for vendors who worry their products may be incorrectly priced in stores. Mobile audits have price-checking capabilities, and can even provide photo proof to calm your fears. To illustrate, we had 300 agents determine the per-ounce price of candy corn (overall average = $0.15) as well as a popular Halloween candy mix ($0.19). The mass merchandisers in the study, however, sold the candies at $0.11 and $0.14, respectively.
Did you know there are actually 2 Halloween shopping seasons?
3. Monitor on-shelf availability
The 3 scariest words in retail: out-of-stock. Shoppers are primed and ready to buy, but your products are MIA. RIS News reports companies lose a staggering $93 billion a year to out-of-stocks. Thankfully, with mobile audits, out-of-stocks can’t hide this Halloween.
4. Ensure modular/planogram compliance
Are your brands correctly placed on store shelves? Is your modular positioning inferior or superior to your competitors' products? Mobile audits furnish photos and videos so companies can see store shelves anywhere their products are sold.
5. Collect competitive intelligence
Stay aware of your competitor’s every move. Our agents are standing by this Halloween to supply you with information on competing products as well as their prices and in-store promotions. As part of our 300-store audit, agents calculated how long it took, on average, Halloween shoppers to find the candy aisles of eight retail chains. One drug store chain came in at 26 seconds, while its fiercest competitor averaged 38 seconds.
6. Acquire in-the-moment consumer insights
What’s really going on in the minds of Halloween shoppers? With mobile research, consumer attitudes and behaviors are always close at-hand. For instance, while our agents were shopping eight different retail chains, we asked them whether the Halloween-themed packages and displays in their assigned store made them more or less likely to buy candy there. Combined, 56% responded either “much more likely” or “a little more likely.”
7. Actually shop-along with customers
Smartphones, with their high-quality video and audio-recording capabilities, make it possible to shop right alongside customers. As shoppers hit stores to purchase Halloween merchandise this year, why not go with them? Mobile shop-alongs give you access to consumer behaviors and thoughts at the most critical moment: as they're shopping.
8. Seek shopper suggestions
Mobile research is also the quick and easy way to collect suggestions and feedback from customers. For instance, we asked 300 agents to tell us what retailers might do to better serve Halloween shoppers.
As an agent from Atlanta, Georgia suggested to one store, “They need to move the [Halloween candy] aisle to a prominent location, one where it's not blocked. It needs proper signage and a whole makeover.”
Or maybe you prefer video and/or audio of customer suggestions and feedback? We can do that, too.
Dominate the Halloween Scene
Mobile audits and research from Field Agent help vendors, retailers, and agencies better serve customers, refine in-store executions, and outperform competitors. Through the powerful combination of crowdsourcing and mobile technology, Field Agent offers fast, affordable, and accurate auditing and research solutions.
This year, why not dominate the Halloween retail scene?