Do you remember the first time you walked into a store that was completely silent? What was your impression? If you are like most people, you probably felt uncomfortable, and after looking around a bit, you quickly left, headed towards a friendlier, more welcoming store. How about leaving a store because you found the music too loud, making you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Music is a key, if underrated, element in a store’s retail mix: The right music has the potential to put people in the right mood, (re)define the brand’s image, attract customers and increase sales opportunities and revenue.
Here are seven excellent reasons why playing the right music will benefit your retail business:
1. Develop your brand and differentiate it
Is your brand laid back and carefree? Is your store family-friendly and welcoming? Are you edgy, vibrant and energetic? The tempo, loudness, style of the music you play can help communicate your brand’s personality to customers, even before they enter your door. Music is such an effective cue to a brand’s image that it’s often enough to hear notes streaming out of a store to realize the brand’s and products’ personality. Imagine that you are at the mall, shopping for a suit. You probably won’t enter stores playing rap or dance music, as they are unlikely to stock formal wear. On the other hand, if you were looking for a new pair of sneakers you would probably pop into one of those very shops, drawn by the notes. If you have been thinking about tweaking or re-branding your stores, music can be a powerful tool to achieve your brand re-design goals.
2. Build the right atmosphere
In this era of growing e-commerce competition, the quality of the shopping experience is becoming a key differentiator between physical stores and online retailers. Small retailers believe that stopping playing music would damage their store’s atmosphere if they stopped playing music. Music is crucial to creating and enhancing the retail experience. Studies show that the music you play It affects not just the store’s environment, but also shoppers’ moods and feelings. By changing the tempo and style of background music, retailers can alter the atmosphere of their stores. Analyze your store’s ambiance, what kind of atmosphere do you want to establish? using high-key pop music, for example, can create a playful environment, while slower rhythms can create a calm, pensive one.
3. Make a private space
Music creates a personal space for customers by masking voices and movements during their walk around the store, browsing the products and making comments to friends or family. With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that 99% of employees who work in stores without music think that shops with music are more modern and appealing. Ouch!
4. Set the shoppers’ pace
In-store music has been shown to affect customer flow through the store based on the pace, rhythm, and volume of the music. People tend to wander around the aisles at a slow pace when calming music plays at a low volume, but they speed up when energetic, loud music is playing. The pace of customer flow does not seem to affect sales. It is smart to plan an in-store music strategy that incorporates all these factors, and plays different styles depending on the time and the desired goals. For example, a retailer may decide to play fast tempo, louder music when it’s close to closing time, to encourage customers to speed through the store; conversely, slow music could be played during off-peak times, to inspire shoppers to wander around and browse the merchandise for longer.
5. Shorten waiting times
In the same way that melodies are played while callers are put on hold, people can perceive time differently when there is good music playing in the background. It can make a long queue seem shorter if it is good music playing. When people are entertained, they are less likely to get bored or annoyed – and likelier to return.
6. Shoppers are encouraged to go shopping
A 2005 study showed that listening to pleasant music increases impulse buys. Researchers believe that music can influence what shoppers choose and how much they spend.The effect was evident even when people did not notice the music played in the store, indicating that music can influence shopping habits subconsciously (yet very effectively). Also interesting is that the type of music played can serve as a trigger for specific purchases. Classical music, for example, has been found to influence shoppers to buy more expensive items.
Classical music may influence shopping decisions because it conveys a feeling of quality and elegance. The researchers in a 1997 paper published in Nature played different types of music in a wine store as the backdrop to their research. If you are running a high-class store, you may want to consider playing classical music as a background to your customers’ browsing. People bought more French wines when French music was playing, but more German wines when German music was playing. Amazingly, the shoppers themselves were not aware that the music had had any influence on their wine choices. Is your music strategy designed to support your specific sales goals?
7. Boost productivity
It is not only the customers who benefit from in-store music, but employees and managers as well. One of the most effective methods for increasing productivity, concentration, and staff morale is to play music in stores. Several scientific studies have found that people tend to work faster and complete their tasks more accurately and creatively when listening to music. According to a DJS study from 2013, 77% of businesses agreed that their staff works better when music is playing. Retail music can be a major differentiator for brands and can have a huge impact on customer experiences. The right music will attract customers and build brand awareness, while the wrong music can ruin the experience. Over one in two UK shoppers left a store due to annoying background music, according to a study conducted on over 1,000 shoppers.
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