With Christmas well and truly on its way, it seems that it should already be beginning to smell, look and sound like Christmas, according to On Hold Company CEO Bryant Wilson.
Writing in a recent blog post, Wilson explains how brick and mortar stores can compete against their online rivals by offering a multi-sensory shopping experience.
“The good old days of retailing are gone,” Wilson says. “Thanksgiving (US) used to kick off the Christmas shopping rush, but now the season starts earlier than ever. Some retailers begin stocking the shelves with holiday items as early as July.”
The CEO outlined the three major components that make a customer’s in-person shopping experience memorable -sight, sound and smell.
First, it should look like Christmas. Holiday displays should be planned down to the square inch because item location and placement can be just as important to sales as the items themselves.
He also cautions retailers to consider the multicultural nature of their customer base and include items geared towards various religious and secular festivals as well. “While Christmas is the dominant holiday celebrated in the United States, other festivals and observances also draw shoppers to stores for foods, gifts, and decorations. If you leave those observances out of your holiday plan, you’re leaving money on the table,” cautions Wilson.
Secondly, it should sound like Christmas. During the holidays, the soundtrack of shopping can help transport customers to a simpler, less complicated time. “The right music helps keep the cash registers singing right along with your customers,” Wilson says. It’s important to have musical selections tailored for individual holidays and specific promotions. Retailers should be ready with something new for each holiday and season, because that keeps content fresh and relevant.
Finally, it should smell like Christmas, stresses Wilson. The sense of smell is quite evocative, and scents affect shopper’s memories and emotions. “That’s an important component that some retailers ignore,” he explains. “The smell of a place – particularly combined with visual and auditory cues like holiday merchandise displays and music – can affect both the mood and buying habits of shoppers.”
With this in mind, we ask what smells, sounds and sights remind you of Christmas? Is it the smell of cinnamon, the sound of Christmas carols playing in the background or is it the sight of Christmas decorations up around the shop? Comment below and let us know.