Christmas Shopping and Jazzy Carols

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and I think that I speak for many when I say that, once again, I’ve left much of my Christmas shopping until the last possible minute to do it. The streets are busy and shops are bustling. So, with a full heart and a semi-full wallet I stepped into the Bijenkorf on the Dam in Amsterdam this week, hoping to find some wonderful gifts.

Source: flickr/d_vdm

Source: flickr/d_vdm

What I found was a jazzy band, fully suited up and playing all the Christmas favorites. The group of four slowly moved around the shop, getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. It was so lovely that I actually got sad that I could not stay in the shop for longer than the hour that I had.

Why is it that this holiday music had so much impact on the atmosphere of the shop? Firstly, people associate personal experiences with songs. Therefore, when Christmas music is played it can alter your mood and warm, cozy feelings arise, making customers want to spend more time in the shop.

Secondly, studies show that shoppers are more responsive to certain musical types and sounds, based on their socioeconomic segment. The music in the Bijenkorf should therefore fit its customer: the local upper class and wealthier tourists. Live music is arguably associated with increased expectations of the product and service quality offered at a retailer, as opposed to the regular Spotify playlist coming from the speakers. Now that the department store is in a revamp and aggressively trying to enhance its expensive image, live jazz is all the more effective in creating a sophisticated sense of classic luxury (Steve Oakes, The influences of musicscape within the service environments, 2000).

In my opinion it’s quite a smart marketing trick, really. I was aware of the moves they were putting on me, but it did not bother me because I just loved the music and the cozy atmosphere. With some great items, I left the store more-than-satisfied and feeling cheerful! Have a lovely Christmas!

Susanne ten Brink