An expert explains… how retailers persuade you to spend more money at Christmas

This year, some estimates suggest that
customers are going to spend over two billion pounds on Christmas shopping.
Unsurprisingly, the busiest shopping day of the year is the last Saturday before
Christmas and around about 40% of sales take place between the 15th and 24th of
December. In fact holiday shopping accounts for about 30 percent of retail
stores’ sales for the year. So Christmas is a vital time of the year for
retailing, especially when we hear about so many retail stores on the high street
closing down. So the interesting question is how do retailers make you spend
your money with them over the Christmas period? For many, shopping is an
experience. This could be a good experience or a negative one. However,
there’s a lot we can do to encourage the positive shopping experience. How often
do you find yourself singing along to the festive tunes in a store? Or are you
one of those people who really hate those Christmas songs? Especially when
they start in November! Well, research shows that music is often a key factor
in increasing sales over Christmas. Stores that slowly introduce music in
December find that they significantly increase their sales. 75 percent of
shoppers say that listening to Christmas music in store really gets them into the
festive spirit, and more importantly, 25 percent say that they tend to be more
generous with their gift giving when they’re listening to Christmas music.
Timing is really important, because if we hear the songs too often and too early
it can have the opposite effect, and instead put the shoppers off. The slower the
music, the longer we tend to stay in store. And also traditional music and
Christmas carols can remind us of Christmases past. It’s even been proven
that queuing times can feel shorter if you’re playing music that the customers
enjoyed, so it’s a great way to calm those nerves in those Christmas queues.
However, if customers become irritated by the music then they might cut the
shopping trip short. If we couple this with olfactory branding, which is the
use of smells in store, then we can enhance the customer experience even
more. Hints of cinnamon plus carols playing in the background can even encourage
unplanned purchases. Smell is the most powerful of the senses and by adding
scent into stores, it can increase unintended purchases by up to 80%.
But again, retailers beware, this only works if it’s associated with a
positive experience from the past. So, if you like Christmas music and you’re
about to go Christmas shopping, make sure you’ve got a list and a budget,
otherwise you may spend more than you intended.

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