The Ghost of Christmas Past?
21st century retailing

Christmas spirit – then & now

picture credit: Viacom / Reuters

So what exactly are we to make of ‘Black Friday’? The name suggests to me the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity. In fact – if you were in the unlucky position of being in one of many retail outlets up and down the country at 8am on Friday 28th November 2014 – you could probably be forgiven for having believed you were witnessing one (or perhaps even the outbreak of WW3).

Is this the future of retailing? Let’s hope not. I’m afraid I’m one of those tirelessly (almost annoyingly) optimistic people who believe there is a better retail landscape on the way. Such egregious spectacles as ‘Black Friday’ serve to remind us of the worst of human nature. The greed, the scuffles and the indignity of people laying bare the worst characteristics of the reptilian brain whilst other more sophisticated layers of cranial activity are temporarily suspended.

It is ironic – that some people will be tearfully watching the legendary Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ this Christmas on the very same discounted T.V set that they procured away from a weaker contestant in “American Retail Gladiators” by the dispensing of a timely Chinese burn or a well-aimed left jab. Funny old world isn’t it?

You may be thinking what has this got to do with Sensescape? Well – quite a lot. You see – here at Sensescape we are fascinated by what happens when you create a retail environment that’s rather more of a pleasant life experience than something that could involve a court appearance. In 2015 we’re aiming to dress more and more retail space in living plant walls (which are proven to lower stress and purify the air you breathe – which incidentally – lowers stress). But that’s not all. We are also going to start installing soundscapes. Did you know that inappropriate music in your retail store drives away up to 27% of your customers? We’re even introducing well proven scent production systems as smell has the biggest effect on forming good (or bad) memories.

A clothing retailer in the US drove a double-digit increase in sales through stores ‘piloting’ floor-space turned over to a quiet natural ‘enhanced’ environment. This was after being advised by MBA business analysts in the company: “We cannot optimise floor space any better to drive up sales”. Not so people…you may be very surprised what’s possible.

So – if you are aiming to create a better environment in-store – maybe live the turnaround story Jimmy Stewart extolled, and in doing so – consistently drive up your profits all year around and retain more civilised customers in store for longer – then perhaps you should come and talk to us. It could be your smartest move in 2015.

Alternatively – you could always wait for one day – pile high – sell cheap – and employ a few ‘bouncers’?

Merry Christmas & a prosperous, peaceful New Year.

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