Music for retail stores: The science behind giving your space a sound

Music for retail stores

For any business owner looking for solutions for streaming music, why now’s the time to fine-tune your brand’s musical identity, and a few quick tips how you can get started with Soundtrack

Posted on February 15, 2022

The pandemic years completely changed how people feel about being in public. Masks. Social distancing. Heading out to the mall’s now something less of us feel so comfortable about, if it means crowds, codes and coughs.

But we all missed it, being there. Not just for the essentials either, but being transported, connected again to the world outside and creating personal experiences. Online shopping can’t do that.

What’s brand-fit music all about?

Just as much as the decor and lighting and everyone who works in a store, well-chosen brand-fit music in retail stores plays a massive part in creating an atmosphere that makes shoppers stop and take a minute, to feel welcome and soak it in.

People’s relationship to music has definitely gotten more important. And there’s few things that can be so comforting as a good song.
Magnus Rydén, Head of Music at Soundtrack Your Brand

No wonder. It’s the first thing you notice, the initial indication whether you’re in the right place when you step through the door. Our hearing’s our fastest sense, which becomes even more noteworthy given new environmental stresses or how surprisingly unfamiliar a catered, sensory experience outside can be these days.

Basically, someone’s more wired to suss out Sinatra than spot your new signage. It’s up to about 84.5% in some cases, the percentage of customers who notice the background music in retail stores. If it’s music someone likes, the numbers point to 41% of customers staying in your store longer, to engage, look up the lyrics and ask someone what’s playing, or just be in it.

Western Kentucky University professor Ronald E. Miliman pioneered research into how background music influences shopping behavior back in the 1980s, but even today it’s still an underdeveloped channel for customer engagement. It’s one many businesses don’t invest in, or often get wrong.

And today, with so many of us longing for a return to normal and with more potential for new brand exposure than ever before, it’s even more vital to be part of what’s relevant, what’s engaging and real.

Takeaway tips for stores

We’ll get into the tips in a second. First, it’s good to ask why music should be a part of your brand strategy at all?

Simply put, customer needs have changed. Are consumers staying loyal to a brand, or prioritizing convenience, availability, good value? During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 75% of U.S. consumers switched brands, according to McKinsey research in 2020. So even more than before, we’re all being mindful of how and where we choose to shop and buy, eat and drink.

As business owners, that means a major potential opportunity to define your store’s presence to a new public.

And that’s where the first tip comes in.

Tip #1: The music you play should always match your brand.

Someone coming into your store already has an expectation of how it’ll feel to be there. Whatever music you play should mirror those qualities someone’s subconsciously checking off - does your space feel comfortable, is it safe and familiar, or is it innovative and new? Is it what they’d expect from your advertising, or from what someone’s said about you?

Tip #2: Don’t make random choices with your music.

Once you’ve found your fit, stick with it. Consistency’s crucial for someone looking to feel comfortable enough to stick around as long as they need.

Those two rules are behind how Soundtrack’s playlists work. Right from your account, you can jump straight in to genres, sounds, moods and mixes based on your favourite artists - each of the keywords you click adds more nuance, personalising and curating in seconds.

Each song on those playlists is hand-picked and quality-checked by our Music team. There’s over 560 ready-to-go playlists, thousands of possible artist stations and all sorts of combinations coming from custom keywords you choose. Instant, optimized and brand-fit music for retail stores within a couple of clicks.

Tip #3: Automate what’s playing and when

Once you’ve got a few playlists that work for you, try out Soundtrack’s schedules. This lets you plan in advance, match different playlists to different times, or adjust what’s playing where in your store.

The Soundtrack app takes loads of the manual effort away, letting you control and track everything on whatever devices you want to use. Your employees can have privileged access to what’s playing, and whoever’s in charge of the playlists can change things up in a few clicks.

Tip #4: Always keep it fresh.

Updated playlists keep peoples’ attention. They reward returning customers with something new, but they’re still familiar enough to feel expected. With Soundtrack, your playlists get regularly refreshed with constant updates based on the best of what’s out there, and there’s new playlists each month.

A majority of business owners play the wrong music, at the wrong place, at the wrong time - so the potential for improvement is huge. But we’re here for the ones who want our help.
Magnus Rydén, Head of Music at Soundtrack Your Brand

Ready to get started?

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