Women holding a sparkler for non-traditional retail eventsMother’s Day, End of Financial Year, Father’s Day, Singles’ Day, Cyber Weekend and Christmas are the key events that come to spring to mind when retailers are planning their year and peak sales cycles and while these dates are essential for success, there are a number of smaller, non-traditional retail events that take place throughout the year.

These smaller, non-traditional retail events create an opportunity for retailers to get ahead of the competition and discover how they can drive further reach and engagement with their customers.

Non-traditional retail events provide retailers with opportunities to test new marketing strategies or new affiliate partners in preparation for peak periods. Whether it be testing new audience segments in prospecting campaigns; a new retargeting message; or running a campaign with a new influencer, non-traditional retail holidays are critical periods where consumers are purchasing. During these periods marketers can afford to take a risk with their campaigns as a means to test and learn what works, what doesn’t or what strategies complement each other.

Further to this, these events are a chance for retailers to acquire new customers, inspire repeat purchases and create brand loyalty. Using off-peak retail periods to acquire new customers allows retailers to create a positive experience with consumers before the holiday season, building brand loyalty which will increase sales not only during retail peaks but through the year. Studies from Rakuten Marketing depict that when a consumer makes more purchases and purchases more frequently, brand value increases. The value of the brand increases as purchases increases, demonstrated by a 7.2x increase in customer value between the ninth and first purchase.

So which events should retailers be keeping an eye on and looking to leverage throughout the year?

Easter: Easter (which was recently held) is a Christian festival and holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover and is a time for people to spend with their family and friends. In many Christian countries, Good Friday and Easter Monday are observed nationally with a public holiday, this gives people a four-day weekend making Easter a peak travel period.

Ramadan: Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. A sacred month commemorating the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, Muslims worldwide fast and abstain from pleasures, to pray and become closer to God. It is also a time for families to come together in celebration. During Ramadan people of the Islamic faith will fast from sunrise to sunset, this creates a buzz of nighttime activity when people can eat and shop, fostering a surge in evening retail sales.

Christmas in July: Christmas in July is celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere (namely Australia and New Zealand) and is sometimes known as Yulefest or Yuletide. Although not an official holiday, many people celebrate on or around July 25th. In Australia, July is our coldest winter month, and the celebrations emulate those of a northern hemisphere Christmas, including hearty feasts, ugly Christmas sweaters, mulled wine and eggnog – festivities that aren’t suited to hot December weather.

Qixi Festival: The Qixi Festival or the Double Seventh Festival is one of China’s traditional festivals and is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. It’s based on a romantic legend and falls on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese lunar month. Traditional valentines gifts and luxury items are favourite purchases for people to make during the Qixi festival.

Korea Sale Festa: Korea Sale Festa is the first global festival of Korea, featuring a national event targeted at foreign tourists and cultural festivals promoting the Korean Wave. The Korean Wave celebrates the increase in popularity of South Korean culture. Held throughout the end of September and beginning of October, Sale Festa has a focuses nationwide discounts on goods and services, events and prizes.

Halloween: Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is celebrated annually on October 31st. Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Costumes, party supplies and treats for trick or treaters drive retail sales during the Halloween period.

Diwali: Diwali, Deepavali or Divali is a Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival of lights, lasting for five days and marking the start of the Hindu new year. A celebration of good triumphing over evil, Diwali is a period spent with friends and family. Prevalent during Diwali is the exchanging of gifts and the wearing of new clothes.

By the time peak shopping periods roll around, retailers who have optimised non-traditional retail events will find themselves at an advantage. Having trialled and tested new strategies and affiliate partners, these retailers understand what drives engagement and encourages new and repeat purchases amongst their target market.

For more information on how you can make the most of non-traditional retail events visit rakutenmarketing.com and speak to one of our experts!