Why retailers decorate stores for festive season sales

A Christmas tree at a mall in Nairobi: Retailers are keen to get the attention of clients using fragrance. FILE photo | nmg

What you need to know:

  • Colours and carols known to influence shopping when children ask parents they are returning to well decorated shops.

In an effort to win consumers into their stores, Kenyan shopping centres are setting the Christmas mood by decorating their premises using fairy lights and playing carols, a factor that influences consumer spending during this season.

The Thika Road Mall for instance, put up green, red and yellow lights in the shape of Christmas trees on its exterior in the beginning of the month and in the interior a Christmas tree stands at the centre of the mall. Also, it has been playing live festive tunes to entertain their customers as they shop.

In setting the Christmas mood for consumers, it could influence their shopping location, choices and spending as the holiday season draws nearer.

“Decorating a shopping centre is a proven trigger for consumers spending habits. This is especially so because of children’s opinions and requests to their parents as they are always attracted to fancy colours and well known Christmas tunes. Also, children’s memories serve them well thus they end up wanting to return. All these effects are determined by the decorations on display and the activities taking place,” said Bruce Gumo, marketing analyst at Biztrace, a marketing solutions company.

In this, retailers will spend a lot of money decorating their stores because they know buyers will want to visit outlets that have impressive decorations and this will influence their spending habits.

In Germany, shopping centres mostly sparkle both inside and outside spending approximately €24m a year on Christmas decorations including materials, planning and running costs, setting up and taking down, and storage, according to a case study on Christmas Decorations in German Shopping Centres by Messe Frankfurt, a global trade show organiser.

“Classical city-centre shopping malls invest the largest sums, at €2.74 per square metre, followed by classical shopping centres in city districts, at €1.73 per square metre. On greenfield sites and in hypermarket centres considerably less money is spent on Christmas decorations, where it amounts to about one Euro. 79 per cent of centres also set up special campaign areas within the mall.”

“With atmospheric decoration directly at point of sale, shopping centres sharpen their profile, to stand out from the relatively sober sales climate on the net, and offer consumers attractive added value. They deliberately place great emphasis on long-lasting, elaborate, all-pervasive and mostly traditional Christmas decorations.”

Besides shopping centres, hotels also incorporate different marketing strategies in the holiday season in order to attract tourists. In order to give travellers a homely atmosphere, as they spend Christmas away from their family, some hotels will set the ambience using different fragrances.

In a paper, Fragrance Marketing: An Innovation in the Hotel Industry published in the International Conference on Management Science and Management Innovation, it establishes that by using scents triggers a stimulation of the subconscious mind, resulting in memory, love, comfort, happiness and various emotional stats.

Thus, the sense of smell can be used as strategy in the hospitality industry to invoke new experiences and stand out amongst the crowd.

“Trendy, contemporary or lifestyle hotels would possibly opt for a fresh, floral and exciting smell that caters to a younger audience that is eye to eye with the level of energy, freedom, innovation and curiosity that emits from this demographic group,” reported the paper.

“The William Toffee’s Hotel, a European and American country-styled accommodation provider in Hangzhou for instance utilises a lavender-based fragrance to build a happy Christmas atmosphere. The aroma of this environment makes consumers produce a pleasant emotional response and prompt the right customers to purchase consumer products and services offered.”

In this, Kenyan marketers seeking to influence consumer spending in different industries during the festive season need to set the mood.

-African Laughter

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