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Strategy, Creativity, Shopper Moments, Signage, Display

Retail Holiday Creep: Pros and Cons of (Too) Early Retailer and Retail Brand Displays

POSTED BY: Chris Gordon on 10/29/18 retail holiday creep

Today is the spookiest day of the year – and it’s also one of retail’s sweetest and tastiest. After the kids crash from sugar overload, the last cobweb is swept up and the witch’s hat is hung up until next year, Halloween is officially over, and you can finally rest.

But wait. The elves don’t have time to sleep. By the time stores open tomorrow, November 1st, candy canes, eggnog and gingerbread houses will be on full display. It’s the story of the Holiday Creep.

Grocery stores and other food and beverage retailers seem to be in competition with each other for the earliest holiday-themed display. Click To Tweet We’re seeing Halloween teased in August, Christmas songs played in October and Valentine’s Day candy hearts right after New Year’s.

 So how can the food and beverage sector optimize this approach and delight their customers?

 Holidays can come twice a year

The idea behind early installations is all about maxing seasonal sales. So what better way to do this than to encourage return visits and repeat purchases? Think of it this way: how many times has your family purchased Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters and eaten half the bag before mid-October? Probably a lot. And in that scenario, the consumer has to come back to the store and pick up another bag. It’s a win-win. The consumer gets the decadent candy treats and Halloween fun, and you get double the sales.

But let’s think about how to maximize these return visits for a second. Consumers aren’t going to want to go back for the same thing. So how do retailers promise variety without having to create dozens of different displays?

Simple: inspiring – and varying – recipes. For Halloween, how about spiderwebs with orange Oreos? And don’t even get me started on the opportunities for Christmas goodies! In my family, the entire month of December is marked by dozens of “Pretzel Cookies.” Again and again, we’ll return to the grocery store for more holiday-themed Hershey’s Kisses. Inspire your consumers with other recipes that inspire them to return and recreate – and new ones to try for next time.

Santa’s elves work all-year long – so should you

Every year, Christmas is on December 25th, Valentine’s Day is February 14th and Thanksgiving is the last Thursday of November. Knowing this, the second a holiday passes, you have exactly 365 days until the holiday rolls around again.

With all of these constants, your lead time as a retailer is constant, too – and it’s something to use to your advantage.

Start thinking about ideas for next year the second you launch this year’s display. Keep an eye on what competitors are doing. Get inspiration from Pinterest and other online spaces for the best trends. Create variation in your displays to test what works. When you know the holidays are coming down the pipeline, you can budget both time and money.

A continuously exciting store experience

Holiday displays are great for many reasons: they’re a convenient one-stop shop for consumers, they get consumers into the holiday spirit and they’re a great place to promote exciting products.

But they’re also limited. A shopper who just wants Peeps for Easter knows where to go and won’t need to browse the rest of the store. That’s why grocery stores need to extend the celebration throughout the sales floor. Of course, your whole store shouldn’t scream Easter, but give shoppers a reason to walk through.

What better way to keep up the Easter spirit and encourage consumers to explore than with a scavenger hunt for special deals? Or during Saint Patrick’s Day, display recipe cards in the holiday section that help consumers make a traditional Irish meal using ingredients found across the store.

Anything can create holiday spirit

There’s more to the year than just holidays. Football season, the Summer Solstice, soup season – all of these are opportunities for inspired food displays.

Host a special popsicle and slushy section for the longest day of the year. Display rotating winter soup recipes with all the fixings you need.

The unsung, uncelebrated days or moments of the year are perfect times to inspire consumers. Shoppers expect to see the Christmas sections and the Valentine’s Day décor. But they’ll be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected seasonal displays – especially for holidays that aren’t usually associated with food.

How about a display of organic, natural foods for Earth Day? A table of fun pies for March 14 (aka Pi Day)? Or a special promotion on produce and V8 for Eat Your Vegetables Day (yes, it exists)?

The opportunities are endless. You just need to dive in and get creeping.

At Medallion Retail, we specialize in creating inspired displays that are guaranteed to excite consumers. Reach out to Michael Decker or Chris Gordon at engage@medallionretail.com to get started today with your holiday-themed displays.

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