in-store music


The music that retailers play in store has come a long way from the traditional 30 track CD on constant rotation. Or at least POSMusic marketing director, Jake Engwerda, hopes it has.

“The old school CD doesn’t work anymore,” he told Retailbiz. “The 30 song thing is crazy.

“Music now is different to the muzak of 20 years ago—that was background music that people mainly ignored.”

Now, music is another string in the retail marketer’s bow; a way for bricks and mortar retailers to build a brand and connect with customers. However, it can also turn your staff against you.

Keeping staff sane

Although your focus is usually on keeping customers happy, Engwerda said retailers need to improve their music offering for the sake of staff members.

“For big retailers, the industry standard is playing 30 new songs per month in store. This is fine for customers but not for staff working 40 hours per week.

“We know the human response to hearing the same thing over and over is fine at first, and then you have burn out. You get a really bad emotional response.”

To ensure your staff stay sane, Engwerda recommends letting them have some control over the tunes you play.

“It’s your staff members who represent your brand. You don’t want to send them crazy because you want to only play your 30 songs… A crazy sales assistant is not a good one.”

Don’t underestimate your sound

Along with driving staff crazy, one of the biggest mistakes retailers make when it comes to in-store music is not realising the impact it has, said Engwerda.

“It’s easy to dismiss the importance of it, but customers do notice these things… Essentially the in-store experience is the most powerful branding exercise.

“Start by putting music at the top of your agenda—don’t dismiss it as just background music.”

The right tunes will be different for every store—from the type of music to the volume and beats per minute—but Engwerda said everyone can benefit from taking the time to refine their store sound.

“If visual merchandisers and marketers can stop for a second and hear what the music is doing, they will notice it has a huge impact on their store.

“It’s a no-brainer. Why would you do this in a 90s type way when there’s nothing stopping you from engaging customers properly and giving your staff a break?”


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