Playing the right background music in your store can make shoppers tap their toes and put them in a buying mood
BY JULIE A. PALM
It may be called background music, but the sounds that play in your store should be at the forefront of your mind.
Background music is all about creating a mood. You don’t want shoppers to be distracted by or necessarily even aware of the specific songs that are playing: You simply want them to feel happy, comfortable and willing to buy.
Several studies have shown that music with a faster tempo makes people hurry. That’s good if you’re a restaurateur who likes to turn tables, but definitely not ideal for mattress retailers who want shoppers to linger and rest-test. So, when you’re choosing music for your store, slower is better (sorry, no speed metal or dance remixes). Other research has found that consumers buy higher priced items when listening to classical music—something to note if you want to sell more luxury bedding. Interestingly, additional studies have shown that people shop longer—and presumably buy and spend more—when music is less familiar to them. That means classic rock or ’80s hits may not be the best choice for your store.
There are countless satellite and streaming services available to businesses, and many have playlists or channels customized for retailers. But don’t “set it and forget it.” Play around with options and see what works best in your store during different selling periods and seasons.
Here are more “sound” tips:
The sound of silence:
A too-quiet store can make shoppers self-conscious and uncomfortable, so make sure to have background music playing. Trying to save money by playing the local radio station can backfire: DJs often get ratings by saying shocking things and you don’t want customers distracted by your competitors’ ads. Retailers who do play the radio in their stores must follow strict rules on store size and speaker number, or risk violating copyright law.
A change would do you good:
If you play the same music day in and day out, your team is going to get bored, and customers can pick up on that lethargy. Spin the dial and change your tunes or musical genre regularly.
It’s up to you:
If you have multiple stores, give managers leeway in selecting music that’s best for their particular location and customer base. A store near a university, one near a retirement community and another on the coast should have different playlists.
Pump up the volume (but make sure to turn it back down):
The sound level you set in the morning when you open the doors may be perfect when it’s just you and a retail sales associate or two in the store. But unless you turn up the music a bit, customers may not hear a thing when they crowd in later in the day. Turn the volume back down when there are fewer shoppers.
Hanging on the telephone:
Review the music and messages that play during what Sleep Savvy hopes are the rare occasions when you have to put a caller on hold. A mix of music and ads is fine, but don’t let the marketing messages repeat often enough for a caller to hear them more than once during an average hold time: They will only remind the caller how long they’ve been kept waiting.