It’s beginning to look, sound, and smell a lot like Christmas! Or at least it should be. No kidding.
In the “good old days” of retailing, Thanksgiving kicked off the Christmas shopping season, but times have changed. It’s a perennial complaint of Christmas curmudgeons and exasperated consumers that “the shopping season starts earlier every year!” — and they’re right. Venerable British retailer, Harrods, kicked off the season early in July 2011 with an “only 149 shopping days left” until Christmas promotion.
Retailers are rushing the season for a reason: it increases revenue. Shoppers say they’re annoyed, but early season displays move merchandise — and move it early in the season, before deep markdowns normally take place.
If you don’t already have your holiday plans in place, start today. Make sure to include three key components of the customer experience: sight, sound, and smell.
It Looks Like Christmas
Have your merchandise placement and holiday decoration displays planned down to the square inch. It’s more important than you may think.
- Merchandise displays: There’s a whole consulting industry devoted to store layouts for a reason. Academic studies show that strategic placement of holiday items can also affect the sales success of regular store merchandise. Where you place your stock can be just as important to sales as the items themselves.
- Holiday decorations: For brevity’s sake, we’re using the term “Christmas decorations” but keep in mind that other days are also celebrated at the end of the year. They run the gamut from religious holidays to secular celebrations. A few examples include: Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanza, Solstice, and New Year’s.
Almost a third of small retailers depend on holiday sales to stay in business, so make sure your holiday offerings, decorations, and store layout are attractive and appropriate for all your customers.
It Sounds Like Christmas
Overhead music sets the mood for a store or restaurant, and bad overhead music can seriously underwhelm your customers. Studies show that shoppers are more likely to linger in an establishment if they’re enjoying the music, and that goes double during the holiday shopping season. At Christmas, the “soundtrack of shopping” is a strategy that helps keep those cash registers singing right along with your customers:
Christmas music can help people remember a simpler, less hectic time — even if things were never really simpler or less hectic, says Michael Paoletta,
“The classic holiday songs are comforting, like hearing from an old friend,” he says. “People have emotional ties to the classics.”
In-store music is important, but don’t forget the importance of updated on hold music and messages. Tailor them for individual holidays and specific promotions and be ready with something new for each holiday and season.
It Smells Like Christmas
As the seasons change, the environment doesn’t just look different: it smells different too. The sense of smell is so basic that we’re often not even aware of how scents affect our memories and emotions. There have been numerous marketing studies that show the scents present in stores, bars, and restaurants not only affect the mood of customers, but their buying habits as well.
With that in mind, it just makes sense to include scents — along with sight and sound — in your holiday marketing plan. You’ll be providing something shoppers can’t get online: an enjoyable, memorable experience that touches the senses.
On Hold Company can make sure your on-hold messages, overhead music and scent marketing are ready for this holiday season. Contact us today to get started.Google+