Christmas songs aim to make shoppers spend more

23:38, Dec 17 2012

Love 'em or hate 'em, Christmas jingles could be making you spend more, a University of Canterbury marketing expert says.

Marketing associate professor Paul Ballantine said that in the leadup to Christmas, retailers used several tactics to create a festive mood aimed at enticing shoppers to spend at their store.

Window displays, choir performances, the chance for children to meet Santa and Christmas carols were among them.

Ballantine said a key to understanding why retail stores looked the way they did during the festive season was "atmospherics".

The study of atmospherics centred on how a store produced specific effects in people that ended up enhancing their purchase probability, he said.

''In the same way that a natural environment - such as a lake and mountains - can make people feel good, retailers have long been trying to understand how an artificial environment like a retail store can make people feel good. The rule of thumb is that people will end up spending more time and money in stores that they like," he said.

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One tactic that was not working was "perpetual sales", which left consumers "jaded", Ballantine said.

''The sales promotion that 'must end soon' but never does, or the one that will 'never be repeated' but inevitably will be. What this does is undermine store loyalty as people are more willing to shop around and increase price sensitivity as people no longer want to lose out by paying full price,'' he said.

''It also means that consumers anticipate when sales occur.''

The Press