Halloween represents a fantastic opportunity for ecommerce businesses to improve their profit margins – just be sure that your eBay store design isn't too frightening!

Ghosts, witches, monsters...they may look unsettling if you're out and about on the 31st October, but these fiends are actually providing retailers everywhere with a much-needed boost during Halloween! Historically, the roots of Halloween are up for debate – some believe that it originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain and was later, much later, taken and adapted by the early Christian Church in an attempt to convert pagans into their religion. However, some people believe that Halloween actually started outside of Pagan beliefs and its roots are solely entrenched in Christianity. All Hallows Eve is part of a Christian festival known as 'Hallowtide' - All Saints Day, which is the day that immediately follows All Hallows Eve, celebrates the saints and martyrs who gave their lives for Christianity. The day after All Saints Day is known as 'All Souls Day' which people take as an opportunity to pray for their departed relatives.

Today, All Hallows Eve is generally known by the majority of people as Halloween which sees 'trick or treaters'; children who dress up as those aforementioned scary fiends, going from house-to-house asking for a treat; normally sweets, cakes, even money - otherwise they'll perform a 'trick' on the inhabitants. This jovial pursuit has its roots in the practice of 'souling' in the Middle Ages, when during Hallowtide, soul cakes were given out to children and poor people in exchange for a prayer for their souls, as well as the souls of their friends and family. This practice was later adapted into the 'performance art' we see today – the 'scary' aspect presumably coming from the theme of the festival, not to mention the 'prayers for the dead' aspect that the soulers offered those who were kind enough to give them soul cakes. Today soul cakes are still made by many Christians who celebrate Hallowtide.

Nowadays of course, Halloween is big business - the commercial exercise is traditionally an American institution and this culture has seemingly spread to the UK and it's since given businesses a great opportunity to expand their ranges to cover the many products that may be purchased during the season. Aside from children dressing up as those wicked fiends, adults too have started to get in on the act – dressing up themselves (though thankfully, not going house-to-house!) and hosting parties or even going out on the town in their 'frightening' get-up! From costumes to candy to decorations to plants – seemingly everything can be adapted into a Halloween product!

Halloween consumer spending in the UK

For a few years now, consumer spending during the run-up to Halloween has risen sharply – last year alone saw an increase of 20% from the previous year. In the United States – the profits from Halloween runs into billions of dollars and some companies even plan their Halloween sales for an entire year - so you can already see why this festival is such an attractive proposition to many businesses. With all of this in mind, let's have a look at some UK sales figures for Halloween;

Key 'Halloween' selling figures

  • £300m was spent on Halloween in 2015 (up from £240m in 2014).
  • The average spend by UK Halloween shoppers was £33.
  • 29% of consumers planned to buy Halloween-related goods.
  • 44% of adults (with children) planned to buy Halloween goods.
  • 19% of adults (without children) also planned to buy Halloween goods.
  • 55% of shoppers planned to buy fancy dress for the occasion.
  • 52% of Halloween shoppers planned to prepare for any trick or treaters by spending on Halloween-themed food and drink.

So with these numbers you should be able to see that spending increased from the previous 12 months – and the chances are that it could do again. It's also interesting to learn that around a fifth of adults, who don't have children, buy Halloween goods – all aspects which (witch?) any retailer would be planning their Halloween sales pitch around. With the increase in ecommerce – especially on mobiles, which now account for the majority of internet use – businesses have been rolling out their products online to attract the growing numbers of shoppers. There is perhaps no bigger, cost-effective and frankly, easy, online marketplace to sell your products on than eBay.

Using eBay to sell your products

Many businesses go about the idea of producing their own websites to sell their products, which is a good idea if you're an already-established brand, as being instantly-recognisable will draw people to their online stores. If you're a small business though, especially one that has just recently started out, eBay will be your best bet to get yourself noticed.

Here are some reasons why it would be a great idea to utilise eBay to sell your products;

  • eBay is the world's biggest marketplace . With users all over the world, eBay is the 'go to' marketplace on the internet.
  • Design your own custom store . You are able to set up your own eBay custom store and manage it how you want to.
  • Easy to use . The functionality allows for users to be able to browse with ease.
  • Relatively low costs . Web space costs money and websites are notoriously difficult to manage on your own at times – having a store on eBay takes all those jobs away, saving you time and money. eBay only charges small fees for listings and take a small percentage on sales.

Top tips on setting up your eBay store

If you do decide to set up your own eBay store design – you will need to put in place a few stepping stones to walk along before you can run it effectively – making it stand out from the crowd is vital if you want to make a success of your business. Here are some tips on how to create an effective eBay store;

1. Be sure to 'brand' your store – Making sure that you set out a brand from the start, no matter for what size of business, helps to define your store, giving it a unique selling point that would encourage users that they really would be interested in your products. When it comes to branding your eBay store, start by uploading a picture that you believe best represents your business and also upload your brand's logo as the profile photo – this would be the image that users would identify your store with. Aside from identification purposes, creating these images are important to give users a good first impression of your business. The vast majority of eBay stores neglect to upload any images or design a logo – so if you look professional, people will be more than likely to deal with you.

2. Use quality images to sell your products – Very much like your 'storefront' of images and logo, all the images that you use to sell each product should be also presented in a professional way. A typical eBay user isn't necessarily aware of searching for stores, they just use the generic search function at the top of the page – this will give you the edge as your professional-looking image will contrast with products that are being sold by individuals (whose photos generally won't be taken professionally). A consumer is more likely to look at something that has been presented well, rather than something that literally looks like it's been taken in someone's front room. This just highlights how important selecting the right images can be. Some things to think about can include;

  • Look at a number of other eBay stores and even professional online retailers and see how they position the items in their photos.
  • Spend extra time to take multiple photos of the items, from different angles, under different lighting. Decide which is best – which you would buy.

3. Feature items at the top of your store – Looking away from online retailing for the moment, have you noticed that in physical retailers, you will find one or both of the following things in common; there'll be posters/adverts for the 'better' items that people want/need at the front of the store AND these items are always at the back of the store, so people have to walk past everything else. With their baskets. This is a basic retailing trick – and it can be adapted for selling online. On your eBay store design, you are able to choose 'featured items' that will display products more prominently within your store, but with the rest of the products (accompanied by your professional photos, of course) still visible, still capable of catching their eyes as they browse through your virtual shelves with their baskets in hand!

4. Integrate your store with social media – For a store to remain looking professional, it's a good idea to build up a community around your brand. This will make it easy for any of your customers to see that you're a genuine business and they are able to place their trust in you. Due to the faceless nature of an online store, it can be difficult for people to place trust in online retailers (especially on a classifieds site like eBay) so linking up with social media will be a good step forward. The most common social networks include Facebook, Twitter and Instragram – you are also able to share more of your brilliant professionally-shot product photos on them! Be sure to put all the links to your social media accounts into your bio on your eBay store – this will be one of the first things that a user sees and they will be interested in looking at them if they're users of those websites too.

5. Describe your products in detail – Normally when you see an individual's listing (and some, stores' listings too) there is very little detail beyond a picture of the item, what it is and if it works or not. If you're running a professional business – this isn't good enough in the eyes of a consumer. Describing the product in more detail will further enhance the trust that a user will be able to place in you that you're a store worth dealing with. A detailed description will help to them to also further understand the value of a particular product, helping them to make a more informed decision about whether to make a purchase – this is where your brilliant selling skills need to come in!

6. Create categories for your products – Very-much like a physical store, you are able to organise your own store into categories, literally setting up virtual shelves for your customers to browse! This is especially helpful for a seasonal event like Halloween – you are able to organise your related products in the same place so that users will be able to find everything they need without potentially going on a time-consuming and tedious look around a disorganised store, which they'll eventually get bored of and click elsewhere.

7. Always be professional – We understand how difficult it can be to run your own business – especially when things don't always go to plan. A business-to-customer relationship can be difficult to retain, but if you do, it can be a fruitful exercise. Always stay professional when dealing with customers, always make sure to respond to e-mails and keep clear records of all your transactions and deliveries. When a repupation gets around – it can be hard to shake, so make sure it's an overwhelmingly positive one!

Be sure that you're not left behind in a scary old store for Halloween – get your eBay store up to scratch and you'll be bringing in those treats in no time!

eStore Design – Designing quality eBay store designs for you!

Here at eStore Design, we have vast experience in providing high-quality eBay store design. Our professional design team has worked with businesses of all sizes to help them to take full advantage of the potential that eBay can offer. If you feel that you have everything to gain from the world's largest online marketplace by improving your knowledge of eBay, as well as setting up a fantastic store design, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today! You can contact us on 0845 050 3500 or alternatively, send us an e-mail at sales@e-store-design.co.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

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