When the holidays are approaching, getting away from Christmas and winter-themed music can seem impossible, and rightfully so: holiday music is everywhere, from the most crowded buses and trains to the most pretentious office buildings. And, of course, in most stores and restaurants. This happens completely by design. Clever retailers know how to make good use of the holiday season to their advantage, and music proves itself to be a very handy tool in this sense.

Why is that? Well, depending on the source, music tends to be very cheap. Moreover, with the risk of getting poetic, music is a universal language, which makes it a great way of impacting and influencing a large spectrum of people. It also lends itself to experimentation within a store: try out a new genre for a couple of days, see how it goes, decide for or against it, and that with zero apparent losses.

There is nothing you have to renew or physically alter in the store, and you probably haven’t invested anything in that change. Therefore music is virtually a risk-free method of making customers spend more time and money in your store and every retailer should try it. When the days are getting shorter and colder and the smell of cinnamon is everywhere, here are 6 tricks on how to make the most out of the season, as a retailer, using holiday music.

  • Start playing holiday music earlier

Lately, it seems that kids have barely finished trick-or-tricking and stores have just taken down the spider webs and put away the Jack-o’-lanterns when holiday music is already playing inside most stores. A possible cause would be the fact that the season is only so long, and seeing how it proves itself very profitable year after year, retailers are trying to prolong it.

There is only one way of doing this, which is playing holiday music earlier, as no one would ever conceive playing Christmas music weeks after New Year’s. Retailers who want to sell more during the holidays and increase their profits should start playing holiday music the first couple of weeks after Halloween. This way, people are getting in the spirit of the season earlier, which means they make themed purchases earlier. This also ensures that customers won’t get sick of the music by the time the season will be coming close to an end.

However, be aware that some people might find playing Christmas music earlier to be irritating. Still, that most likely will not make them leave your store, but rather act as a guide for you on when to actually start playing the holiday music. If you feel like, after the first couple of days, your store is feeling emptier, maybe hold up the holiday music for a bit longer and retry it as the holidays approach more.

  • Play the big hits

If you are a clothing store or any other retail store that has young people as target customers, this is for you. Playing the biggest holiday hits can work wonders for you and your retail store. Your target customer is probably very familiar with them, and so you are creating a cozy atmosphere for them to enjoy while shopping.

That type of atmosphere plays a crucial role in the spending habits of customers. Research shows that when customers enjoy themselves in a store, they spend more time browsing, make more purchases and are ultimately more likely to come back. So feel free to confidently go about playing Mariah Carey, WHAM and Kelly Clarkson songs in your retail store, as your target customers are going to have a good time and remember your store for the shopping experience it has provided them with.

Alongside the target customer, the specific of the store plays an important role in the choice of the appropriate holiday music. Think about the overall atmosphere you are trying to convey and choose the holiday music you think fit in order to achieve that. Remember that there is no universal right or wrong when it comes to retail music: among all the people coming into your store, someone will enjoy the music you are playing. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

  • Play classical holiday music

There is a very specific category of stores that would benefit from playing classical holiday music, such as choir carols and jazz songs: stores that sell luxury items. A study done in a wine store has shown that when classical music is played, people tend to buy the more expensive items, as opposed to the times when modern pop music was played.

This happens because customers tend to see classical music as more refined, even posh, which makes them perceive the quality of the products as superior and, in turn, makes them consider the prices as more reasonable. Thus, stores that sell expensive jewelry, gourmet food, fine wines and antique items will most certainly see their sales increase when playing carols sung by choirs or, for a more modern and jazzy approach, songs by Michael Bublé.

  • Induce a feeling of nostalgia

If there is a season when nostalgia can have a positive connotation, then that is the holiday season. During the holiday season, everyone remembers and even longs to be home, and that gives retailers a valuable opportunity. By making their stores feel more homely and cozy, people get wrapped up in the atmosphere as if inside a warm blanket, making them spend more.

This applies especially to home decor stores, as people will buy various Christmas-themed items in order to create that same homely and familiar environment at home, clinging to the atmosphere you have carefully crafted inside your store. This effect can be easily achieved by playing holiday music that was popular during the 50s and 60s. Think about the timeless hits that we still know and love today: “Let it snow” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, just to name a few. With these in your speakers, every customer is sure to feel warm, fuzzy and eager to purchase something.

  • Use the pace to your advantage

It comes as no surprise to anyone when I say that during the holidays, everyone is in a constant rush. As a consequence, people step into stores, look around for a couple of minutes and then leave, either to browse other stores or finish some errands they have to run.

Counteract this and keep people inside your store by playing predominantly slow-paced holiday music. This will impact the customers’ perception of time, making them feel like less time has passed than it actually has, allowing them to browse freely, without feeling stressed out and making them leave before even purchasing something.

On the flipside, when those huge crowds are coming in a couple of the days right before Christmas, a literal change of pace can help you cope better. Fast-paced music will make customers browse and pay faster, allowing a greater influx of people into your store.

  • Don’t abuse holiday music

If the products and services you are offering have nothing do to with Christmas and you are not offering any kind of holiday deals and offers, it is better not to play holiday music. This way, you avoid seeming tacky and your customers will not get their hopes up about special discounts and crazy holiday deals. In this situation, your best bet is to preserve the personality of your brand through the music you play all year round.

Next holiday season, make sure you try out these music tips and tricks in your retail store, in order to reap all the benefits that “the most wonderful time of the year” has to offer.