August 27, 2016

Everyday is a Holiday: Are You Making the Most of Obscure Holidays?


shopper

The 2015 holiday shopping season is in the rear-view mirror, and for most retailers, that means slower sales.

Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are on the horizon, but is that all your retail store has to look forward to? Not if you take advantage of the many other obscure holidays that can be tied to retail specials and sales.

I recently learned about Singles’ Day, a Chinese holiday that got its start in the 1990s when a group of young male college students decided to create a special day to celebrate their freedom in response to Valentine’s Day.

The concept caught on, and in 2009, online marketplace Alibaba decided to launch a Singles’ Day sale. Since then, Singles’ Day sales have grown to more than $9.3 billion last year, according to MarketWatch. The equivalent of Black Friday in the United States, Singles’ Day means flash sales, super discounts and plenty of buying for consumers in China and other markets Alibaba serves.

Alibaba didn’t create Singles’ Day. But the retailer took advantage of the concept to implement some smart marketing for one of the more obscure holidays. Along the same lines, Amazon has seen success with sales on Prime Day, an obscure holiday it created.

Can your retail store enjoy the same success by marketing around obscure holidays or even creating an entirely new holiday?

Tips for Taking Advantage of Obscure Holidays

Think Outside the Box

Sales based around national holidays like Presidents’ Day are old hat. Try getting a bit more creative by tying your sales and promotions to not-so-popular holidays. For example, a florist could have a sale on Arbor Day. Does your store have international ties? Think globally. For example, a French bakery could have special events or sales on Bastille Day.

Research Unusual Holidays

There are so many quirky holidays that you can find more than one for every day of the year (and every type of retail business). February is full of these types of holiday — there’s Chocolate Mint Day and Sticky Bun Day—which are good news for candy stores and bakeries. Did you know that February is Birdwatching Month as well as Bake for Family Fun Month? Check out these unusual holidays for these celebrations and others.

Look for a holiday that relates to your retail store, your target market and the product line you’re trying to push. Unless, that is, your brand is “wacky” — then you can pick something completely off the wall.

Time it Right

Hold your holiday events and sales during traditionally slow times of the year to get more customers into your store and boost sales. You can also use off-the-wall holidays to rid the store of slow-moving merchandise ahead of a new season. For example, a home-goods store could move winter bedding by celebrating Napping Day (that’s March 14, just in case you’re curious.

Put Your Own Spin On It

Don’t just hold a generic sale tied to a month. Get creative with special events or giveaways as well as discounts. For example, a cookware retailer with an older clientele could create Bake for Family Fun Month promotions that emphasize the enjoyment of teaching grandchildren how to bake. A bakery could promote the same holiday with take-and-bake desserts or “decorate your own” cookies.

Promote it Everywhere

Get customers hyped up about your upcoming holiday events and sales by marketing them on all of your advertising channels, including (especially) social media. Encourage people to share your social media posts and get others involved and interested. Generate interaction by having customers post pictures or create videos of how they celebrate this holiday. (Note to pet store owners: Puppy Day is March 23.)

Celebrating unusual holidays with special promotions is a smart marketing tactic that can also be a lot of fun.

Shopper Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

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2 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    Most of us business owners don’t really pay attention to some holidays if it is not a big thing that really affects our employees. But I guess celebrating even the most obscure events is bound to appeal to a certain market – and that is a market you could be losing sales on.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    It is not time for monkey business in the year of the monkey, right?! 😉

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