Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Music and Your Store

An awesome collegue cohort, and client of mine recently emailed me this great question and I just had to share it with all of you!
Hi Melissa,
I've been wondering about the relationship between music and shopping for a bit and maybe you can help me. I'm trying to research the relationship between BPM (beats per minute) and retail sales. Whenever I go to the malls all I ever hear is high BPM dance and pop music but I find this irritating  I would assume that all these big chain stores are playing this music because it is proven to increase sales. Maybe it's a stimulant? The one research paper I came across online found that stores that played more relaxed music saw customers that lingered longer in stores and therefore were more likely to purchase more...What do you think?
The Answer:
I, myself, haven’t read a whole lot of research.  In fact, I don’t think there’s a ton out there.  But I do think that the study you read is among the most accurate.
If you choose music that your target market or core customer likes the best, they will linger longer.  It’s also important to have music that doesn’t drive you or your staff members nuts!  If you’re on edge, your customers will sense it. 
The truth is a happy customer and a customer who is in tune with the environment buys more, so don’t worry about what the malls are doing because your customers don’t shop there all that much.  The reason we see malls choosing the music they do is that they’re generally trying use top 40 type music to appeal to the masses.  There are also loads of stores in the malls that appeal to teens and young adults and that is the music that they like best.
If you really want to focus on choosing music that your customers like best; you could try creating a survey monkey survey (or use a similar software or system) and invite them to complete it or complete it with them at the till!  It could be fun and customers get to feel involved.  Also, I’m sure most branding gurus would say that the music you choose needs to fit with your brand.  If your brand isn’t a teeny bopper, high octane, brand... I wouldn’t worry about pushing the high speed music.
Last, but not least, we come to holiday music...  I know it's not everyone's favourite, but it’s an absolute must.  That’s where most of the retail studies pertaining to music have been done and it’s proven to drive sales up quite a bit!  Usually, the chain stores start weaving in the odd quiet holiday song about November first, then after Remembrance day, you’ll hear it every 2nd or 3rd song (you may have to make custom CD’s or playlists for your store).  As of December first, it should be all Holiday, all the time!  You will get the odd customer that may complain about it, but even they will be more likely to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts (should that be applicable) because it’ll be top of mind.
Here are some links to research I've found!
And here's a little bit on the Shoppers Drug Mart Holiday music "controversy"
I gladly welcome all of your questions and comments!  Please add your comments!