Help Shoppers Beat Holiday Stress and Stay Focused on Health

Help Shoppers Beat Holiday Stress and Stay Focused on Health

October 22, 2014

Don’t be a stiff scarecrow with just one expression this Halloween. Let shoppers experience a fun (and healthy) side of you and your store. Prime them to be part of more holiday traffic, and set a healthy example at such a “health vulnerable” time of year as they feed off of your upbeat approach to the Q4 season.

Holiday season shopping can be pressured and stressful. Lists grow longer, more complex, and unhealthier. Time shortens. And millions of households feel an incessant need to save money - so retail dietitans need to give them reasons to spend at full price, or close to it, and choose and crave healthy foods.

Family fun is a great way to put people in a position to buy and being in a good mood increases the propensity to try new healthy foods. Autumn weather remains mild enough for retailers to consider setting up a haunted tunnel outside the store. Maybe a 50 cents kid’s admission to a haunted tunnel could go towards a known local charitable cause – and each kid could get a bottle of store-brand water at the end.

Play up other fun aspects of Halloween too – possibly with a bouncy house, face-painting and pumpkin-carving stations.

Commercialize your efforts: set up a stand where people could pay for pumpkins, candles, carving tools and decorations, as well as healthier versions of the common Halloween treats. Coconut sugar sweetened caramel-apples, (unsweetened) cider, pumpkin bread, spooky shaped fruit and veggies and other seasonal treats. One idea would be applesauce and pumpkin sweetened ghoulish cupcakes from the in-store bakery – along with photos and flyers to drive shoppers inside for themed salads and healthy and hearty soups from the prepared foods sections.

Since more families get together these days to host Halloween parties to keep kids close to home rather than out running the streets, it's a great opportunity to help them "party plan." Why not let multiple departments share in the fun of meeting these increased food needs healthfully and creatively?

Also, the holidays are an opportune time for retailers that purchase from local farms to also help brand them, and draw attention to these sustainable efforts. Start with Halloween. It doesn’t get more authentic than having local farmhands in your produce department help people pick pumpkins, or in the bakery selecting apple and pumpkin pies and breads.

Efforts like these will appeal broadly to fun-loving shoppers, and are a conversation starter for shoppers at home and in-store. The latest data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics show 77.6% plan to dress in costume, hand out candy (68.9%), carve a pumpkin (59.2%), decorate their home or yard (57.7%), or throw or attend a party (56.4%).