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To fit the tune of your store

Music is an essential part of the retail atmosphere, and playing the right tunes will immerse your customer in a shopping experience that reinforces your brand and encourages sales.

If you know your customers well, it shouldn’t be difficult to choose the right type of music to make them visit more often and spend more time in your store. However, if you have a wide customer base choosing the right music can be tricky.

The music you choose can contribute to the overall atmosphere in your store, and can affect people’s emotional states and engagement.

Studies have shown that four aspects feed into how we experience music, with volume, tempo, rhythm, and pitch determining our immediate response.

Volume: When music is too loud, customers spend less time in store, but when the music is too quiet to hear consumers feel uncomfortable browsing in silence. Regardless of age or gender, a softer music influences shoppers to slow down and spend more time in store. Medium-volume music is based around 70-80 decibels.

Tempo: The speed at which music is played can affect consumers within the retail sector. As expected, higher tempo music encourages people to act faster, walk faster and shop faster, decreasing browsing time. Slow music, on the other hand, influences customers to take their time when browsing, giving them time to stop and interact with products.

Rhythm /Genre: A genre which works in one retail space may not always work in another. Genre preference, and rhythm through association, is usually defined by the individual, but through profiling demographics, a retail store can identify its general target audience. Gathering as much information as possible about your customer base will significantly improve the odds of choosing the right music to play in your shop.

Popular music: Familiar music makes customers more aware of their surroundings and ups the likelihood that they will interact with products. It also increases dwell time, whether or not the customer consciously recognises the music.

It is important to point out that music needs support from other parts of the store. Several studies have shown that music does not control the behaviour of customers, but combines with other factors to create a background atmosphere. If a shopper likes the music you’re playing, they’ll probably appreciate your store more, too.

To tap into the atmosphere-creating power of music in a business or organisation, it’s important to note that to comply with the NZ Copyright Act (1994), you need permission from music creators to use their music. In New Zealand, thepublic performance of music is administered by OneMusic, who can issue annual licences that grant you permission to play virtually all music available.

Music licensing is a non-negotiable start in making sure you can use music to the fullest extent to more specifically target the key demographic of your store. 

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Courtney Devereux is a Communication Consultant at Clear Hayes and freelance business writer.