Halloween offers some unique emotional combinations to cash in on: nostalgia, the sweet tooth, the thrill of wearing a disguise or of scaring people, the desire to win a costume contest. Retailers are looking to mix these exhilarating feelings together and create an easy environment for shoppers to spend more and to make impulse purchases.
Hunger is pretty self-explanatory. But what if you combine hunger and envy? Visualize a six-pack model evangelizing a protein bar. What emotions do you think are at play here? Admittedly this is the marketing message of a brand rather than a trick for a retailer.
Think of the models used to sell costumes and how these images can play on people’s emotions- the male model’s V-shaped body; the female model’s ability to make even the most unlikely costumes appear “sexy.” The images and the product content surrounding them can help stir consumers’ emotions and help drive conversion. Would customers pay more for the same product when it starts catering to multiple emotions?
A lot of the tricks retailers can use relate to catering to the Halloween shopper’s emotions. Envy: I should have better Halloween decorations than my neighbor. Guilt: I need that treadmill to lose all the weight I am going to gain during Halloween. And of course, there’s the pressure to buy a costume for an impending party or trick-or-treating – especially with shipping deadlines approaching. Retailers can also appeal to the joys of tradition and of wearing a disguise: Hey! I get to dress up like Captain America again! Or maybe I’ll be Deadpool this time! People relate emotionally. They remember great experiences – like a trip to the movies with their kids. There’s a reason that the Minion costumes have been consistently on the top 10 list at Amazon.
Halloween, like most of the major holidays, is a chance for retailers to revisit their product content to look for ways to improve how their products are merchandized to eke out margin without using pricing as the primary lever to move the needle. If you can connect with customers on an emotional level – whether it’s based on the nostalgia of Halloweens past or the desire to look great in a trendy costume – you may find that their price sensitivity and the price elasticity of your products has some wiggle room. Using optimized content – from better images to improved product descriptions – and a rich user experience as a differentiator is a key to survival in today’s ultra-competitive ecommerce market.
A sentiment analysis of product reviews can also help retailers identify how customers perceive a product, and those insights can be used to assist merchandising assortment decisions in the future.
In the “spirit” of the holiday, don’t be “afraid” to use emotions to connect consumers with your products. You may find that tapping into their emotions can be a good retail “trick” for filling shopping carts. In the long run, consumers will have a better experience and those with emotional connections will be more valuable to your business.
Sudhir is focused on leading Ugam Solutions’ drive towards actionable insight solutions for the retail industry. He comes with a wealth of knowledge of the retail industry, having over 18 years of consulting experience helping leading retailers improve their digital commerce and supply chain performance. Sudhir has previously worked with Accenture and Infosys, where his last role was to establish and lead the multi-channel commerce practice.