It’s safe to say that last year’s Christmas left a lot of us with a resting Grinch face. However, this year, with call for greater optimism, the ghosts of Christmas past will hopefully not be returning. As Summer 2021 comes to an end, we have swapped the sunshine and cocktails for log fires and blankets, getting the stage set for the most wonderful time of the year. But is it too early to be planning for Christmas?
We asked the experts at music licensing company PPL PRS to share their top Christmas music tips for retail businesses in the run up to the festive season…
Yule be sorry if you don’t plan
As Benjamin Franklin said, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”, and being prepared this festive period is key to having a successful Christmas for your business. Whilst some of us may recoil in horror at seasonal goods being displayed long before we have even had the chance to carve our pumpkins, many shoppers do like to stock up in advance and take advantage of the many early discounts that retailers offer.
By planning ahead this year your business could benefit greatly. A recent survey conducted by eBay Ads UK found that 2,000 UK consumers start to think about Christmas shopping before the end of August. Consumers stocking up early this year could be due to several factors, one of these being the financial implications of COVID 19 putting a strain on countless individuals, so spreading the cost over a longer period is potentially a more viable way people can ensure a ‘normal’ Christmas takes place this year.
When should you start playing Christmas music?
Playing Christmas music in October may seem out of place, however, introducing the Christmas joy steadily gives customers and staff alike time to adjust. Large retailers tend to release their much-anticipated Christmas adverts around November 5th and according to Google trends search terms such as “Christmas music”, start to see a rise in mid-November, peaking on December 13th. For many, Christmas songs are a large part of the overall experience of shopping for gifts for family and loved ones. By gradually introducing your festive playlists in this time frame, you can deliver a build-up of anticipation for the big day, whilst also keeping in touch with staff and customer’s wants and needs.
Diversify your playlists
It can be very tempting to press shuffle and let the likes of Mariah and Wham! do the rest. However, you could spend a little extra time this year and think about the atmosphere and tone you want to set within your retail business. We now have accessibility to countless Christmas songs in different genres. Businesses can easily mix different styles of Christmas music that bring a unique, tailored experience for your customers – curated by you. Furthermore, diversity in your playlists is not just beneficial for your customers but for your employees too – trust us, by December 31st they’ll be singing your praises!
Offering a variety of music for staff during the Christmas break could indeed offer them a break from Christmas. If you own a café and would like to create a relaxing, quirky ambience, would your employees potentially prefer listening to some relaxing festive jazz instead? If you have staff only areas, consider playing a non-Christmas playlist to alleviate any festive fatigue. Dare to be different with your music this Christmas.
Create a schedule for different times of the day
Just as with your everyday background music usage, you should consider what songs are suitable for different times of the day. Caffé Nero do this extremely successfully, “We use music to change the atmosphere so, like all good retailers we split our day into parts… and you can actually feel the atmosphere change. More and more up-tempo as we go through the day so it has a huge influence.” Pablo Ettinger – Co-founder of Caffè Nero.
Christmas music can evoke a range of emotions in us, and songs can vary substantially in their styles and genres. Whilst relaxing festive jazz might be nice in the morning or later in the evening, at peak hours playing well-known, recognisable songs could help to motivate and boost morale for your employees and encapsulate the festive spirit in your customers. Remember: your music choices can not only reflect your brand, but they can also influence and appeal to early shoppers and last-minute-gifters alike. Involve your employees in playlist choices and listen to their feedback about the style of music that motivates and engages them during their working day too.
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.