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3 tips for capitalizing on micro holidays

Merchandising opportunities lay beyond the traditional holiday seasons, industry experts say

Shutterstock/KzenonShutterstock/Kzenon

Move over major holidays, the micros are moving in.

Novelty and seasonal items, including confections, greeting cards and gift cards, are very popular around the four major holidays: Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas and Easter. However, more retailers are moving into “fifth season” or “micro” occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Canada Day and Super Bowl.

“Retail seasons have gotten longer, major holidays are overlapping, and shoppers are continuously finding ‘mini’ moments in their lives to enjoy each holiday,” said Jim Dodge, vice-president of convenience at Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., maker of novelty and limited-edition seasonal confectionery items.

This has given way to more micro season moments and thus, more opportunities for retailers’ merchandising and marketing plans. Consider these ideas when looking to capitalize on the latest and greatest in general merchandise:

1. BE SEEN & HEARD

Fifth-season merchandising opens itself up to more available space. Retailers who put a bigger focus on micro occasions will come to realize that store space is a lot less crowded at other times of the year versus during the winter holidays, according to Jaclyn Nix, a retail industry consultant and vice-president of sales at MyWebGrocer.

Consumers are more likely to notice fifth-season merchandising, too, because it comes at a time when they’re not bombarded by typical holiday messaging.

2. SUMMER: A THREE-WAY WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Convenience stores can capitalize on the key summer holidays (Victoria Day, Canada Day, August long weekend and Labour Day, as well provincial celebrations, such as Bastille Day in Quebec) by utilizing general merchandise endcap and counter displays.

“There’s plenty of time [during the summer season] to drive purchase and create a shift in buying behaviour,” said Nix.

Plus, summertime is when consumers are shopping for a crowd, so retailers should consider price promotions for bulk buys. Think sunglasses, sunscreen and even pool toys/drink floats.

And speaking of sunglasses, retailers looking to become serious general merchandise players must realize that they have to keep their impulse-item displays, such as sunglass racks, just as in stock as they do their beverage coolers.

As for when retailers should start merchandising seasonal moments such as summer and spring, Dodge suggests weeks in advance. For summer, “shoppers want to see merchandise in stores beginning in early May, and the majority want it to run through Labour Day,” he stated.

3. THE NATIONAL DAY CALENDAR

Did you know National Kazoo Day is January 28? How about National Jerky Day on June 12? The National Day Calendar (nationaldaycalendar.com) can become the fifth-season bible for a retailer looking to capitalize on odd holidays to sell more general merchandise.

There’s a lot more fifth-season opportunities than retailers realize. “It seems almost any day is a big day that has a named event after it. Some have historical significance…but some are truly frivolous such as Peach Day or Watermelon Day,” said Don Stuart, managing director at Cadent Consulting Group. “But these are all days that creative operators can make something out of.”

Retailers don’t need to try and capitalize on every occasion, but can pick and choose. “There’s probably one a week that can be really special to make a store pop—to differentiate it, to create some traffic and to generate incremental sales with unique merchandising,” said Stuart.

A version of this article appeared at CCentral.ca.

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