Christmas in Retail – Is the Music Tactical or Tacky?

Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2018 by XpressjobsNo comments


Tis the season of Christmas in retail shopping, failed Pinterest DIY attempts and a lot of Michael Bublé.  There is no denying that the last couple of months in the year feel colourful, magical, and surreal.  But the one thing we are all too familiar with is the Christmas music following shoppers everywhere they go.

Being quite a jolly Christmas lover may cause a little too much enthusiasm about hearing “All I Want For Christmas” thirteen times in the working day. Especially compared to the sighs and groans these songs receive from other workmates and customers.  But why are these songs played on loop?

To most people, their response to would probably be along the lines of “to drive us absolutely insane”. And, that may be true. However, it could possibly be a tactic to get Christmas shoppers to spend more money in retail.

When it comes to shopping, many have a love it or hate it attitude. So, Christmas shopping for some is all about planning. Which stores and aisles to go to? How to get to the till as quickly as possible? And where the nearest exit is?!

But once consumers hear the Christmas music, it makes them feel happy and festive. It reminds them of presents, which then makes them slow down, enjoy the songs and fun holiday vibes and buy a lot of stuff for a lot of people. After working in retail during the Christmas period, it’s safe to say this happens to a lot of customers.  “I only came in for a look and now I have finished my Christmas shopping”. “I came for 2 things and have left with 10!!!”. 

So, let's look into it a bit more to see if retailers are smart and sneaky with their soundtracks. Or if it is really just to bring a bit of festivity to our lives.

Busy shopping centre at Christmas time

We discovered one of the main reasons for the music is that it is meant to bring us a sense of nostalgia. They usually play the iconic songs a lot of us have grown up with, which begins to make us think about past holidays and family time. Maybe it reminds some folk of the bikes or really cool light up shoes in the exact colour they had asked for. 

The point is that it makes us relive happy memories and makes us want to create more, thus getting us in the Christmas mood early and buying more presents than intended.  It’s like when they pump in the freshly made cake scent in the bakery part of Tesco. You instantly think “I really need cake right now“.  It makes you happy, hungry and purchase impulsively. It's why some very Christmassy shops go the extra mile and light Christmas scents to add to the festive feel.

But why does it drive most people mad? It turns out that some retail outlets start the month with one out of four songs being festive. As the weeks go they amp it up until it’s Christmas music only, which can become repetitive and annoying for some customers. 

So whether you are a Grinch or a Who, it’s safe to say that these cheesy tunes have impacted your shopping baskets this year.

If you think you've got the guts to take on Christmas in retail industry, check out our retail jobs now!


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