Why retailers should be paying more attention to background music

30 Oct 2019

Every experience in life is better if it’s got a great soundtrack and shopping is no different. There is a reason why we seldom experience silence when we’re shopping - silence is uncomfortable and distracting

A recent study, by the music streaming company Soundtrack Your Brand and the Stockholm School of Economics found that people will stay in a store for 42% longer if music is playing.

However, that doesn’t mean retailers should just be playing any old guff. The same study discovered that sales jump by 32% when the music being played accurately reflects the brand identity of the store and the tastes of its target audience.

Streaming your background

Whilst even a few years ago playing music in-store would have involved compiling a playlist on multiple tapes or CDs and playing them on repeat over the course of a working week, the modern streaming services of today have significantly simplified the situation.

 Now, it’s possible to load up Spotify, stream it to your store’s commercial PA sound system and have almost the entire history of recorded music at your disposal.

This means there are no limits to what you choose to play and playlists can be adapted on the fly to sync with changing customer demographics and even specific promotions that might be happening in-store. 

Streaming is an endlessly flexible development in the world of entertainment that has fundamentally changed the way most of us consume our content. But it’s also changed the way music is used to forge an emotional connection between shop and shopper.

Emotional connection

Music is an inherently emotional thing that can have a subtle, unconscious effect not only on our mood but on our actions too. This can be utilised by retailers who can take full advantage of flexible streaming playlists and use them to effectively ‘direct’ the emotional journeys of their customers.

This means that if you’ve noticed queues forming at the till you can play faster music to help speed things up and slower music if you’ve noticed people not spending enough time browsing. Loud modern music, meanwhile, will appeal to younger shoppers - while quieter, classic tracks should appease older customers.

Employee satisfaction

Nobody in your store is going to have to listen to the background music more than its employees, so they should certainly be taken into consideration when putting together your playlists. It’s also important to make sure you know your employees and adapt your selections accordingly, as to say there have been conflicting reports on what music employees prefer, would be an understatement.

One study revealed that more upbeat music made employees more cooperative and another found that any overhead music at all has an overall negative impact on job satisfaction. So two different sets of experts have come to two completely opposing conclusions. 

The takeaway here? Listen to your employees and get to know your customers, then adapt your playlists accordingly and you’ll not only play music that makes people spend more money but you’ll keep your staff on-side too.

Balancing the mix

Ultimately, striking the right tone with your background music is certainly a balancing act. Remember that you also need to ensure you’re not playing anything that betrays your brand image or anything involving profanity, not to mention anything that portrays a message that doesn’t align with your brand values. 

However, once you hit that right balance with your background retail music, you’ll hopefully notice a definitive (and positive) change in your typical customer and a comfortable increase in your bottom line!


Posted in: Business advice | background musicretail | Comments Closed

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