Is Your Holiday Music Driving Your Employees Nuts?



It seems like the day after Halloween is a signal for shopping malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and retailers across the country to hit play on the holiday music playlist.

This introduction of holiday music is a somewhat polarizing topic. There are people who enjoy this transition and love hearing holiday songs and carols as they stroll through or work in their favorite stores. Then, there are people who don’t, the people who cringe at the thought of hearing one more holiday song.

But surprisingly a study found that when it comes to holiday music -- a majority of shoppers actually enjoy it.

82% of people enjoy hearing holiday music in stores.

Another study even found that people buy more holiday-related products when holiday music is present.

So, shoppers positively react to holiday music, but what about the employees of stores?

Overhead Music Impacts Employees (and Customer Service) More Than You Think

When selecting overhead music for your retail or store location, it is easy to focus on the customer. What would the customer like? How would the customer feel about this? How will it impact the customer’s shopping experience?

All of those are good questions. But there is another important consideration when planning your in-store overhead music. How will this music affect my employees?

Overhead music can impact employee productivity and morale. It can reduce or enhance their stress. And it can impact how happy and engaged they are.

Wal-mart recently learned just how much their overhead music was affecting their employees. During their annual shareholder’s meeting, one of the chief complaints from their staff was that they had to listen to music on repeat (particularly greatest hits by Celine Dion and Justin Bieber).

After voicing their concerns, the audience let out a cheer when Wal-mart pledged to ditch the CDs that had been playing on loops for months. Wal-mart decided to make changing the music in their stores a priority because they saw the connection between happy employees and happy customers.

They believed that unhappy employees, frustrated by repeated playlists, would lead to unhappy customers, underserved by disgruntled employees.

Wal-mart realized that by creating a better working environment for their employees, they could provide a better overall experience for this customers.

So, what does that tell us about creating a holiday music playlist?

How to Create a Holiday Playlist that Employees and Customers Love

As you consider what type of music you want your store to play during the holidays, keep two things in mind.

  1. Most shoppers like holiday music.
  2. Overhead music can impact the morale of employees.

It can benefit your business if you play holiday music, but only if you follow these rules that will also create a positive experience for your employees.

  • Don’t Be Repetitive: Employees get frustrated by music that is regularly repeated. Create holiday playlists that are long enough that an employee won’t hear the same song more than once during an eight-hour shift.
  • Add Variety: Add in traditional carols and modern holiday music. Variety in both song style and tempo can help reduce listener’s fatigue.
  • Include All Cultures: Don’t just play just one culture’s holiday music. Include songs that relate to all of the holidays in December as well as songs that relate to the winter season in general.
  • Ask Your Employees: One way to find out how the music is impacting your employees is to simply ask. Find out if the music is affecting them and ask what you can do to help improve their instore experience.
  • Don’t Hit Play Until December: One study found that most shoppers enjoy holiday music, but that they prefer for it to start in December. So don’t overdo it and begin playing holiday music just as the pumpkins are put away. Wait until after Thanksgiving to hit play on your holiday playlist.

Overhead music is more than just background music. It can affect how customers and employees act, feel, and think. So don’t overlook its power or impact on your business. Set up a playlist that improves employee morale, customer satisfaction, and your in-store shopping experience.

Want even more tips on how to create an overhead playlist that both customers and employees love? Check out our post 5 Key Questions to Consider When Developing Your Overhead Music Playlist.

Or contact a Spectrio specialist to see how we can help you update and elevate your in-store music.


See Why Overhead Music Rocks

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