Believe it or not, the music you put on your retail store playlist can make or break sales and influence customers to see your business in a more positive (or negative) light. Here are a few helpful tips for picking out the perfect sound for your business.
PLAYING MUSIC LEGALLY
So, you’re ready to start picking songs for your retail store playlist, but before you hit play, make sure you know what is and isn’t legal to share with customers. For example, when it comes to streaming services like Pandora or Spotify, it’s illegal to stream because music offered by these companies are made for consumers (private, non-commercial use) rather than businesses.
To play music for your customers and employees in a public space, you need a Public Performance License (PPL). To acquire the legal license and to learn about the potential costs, check out these performing rights organizations (PROs):
Since a music license with a PRO only allows you to play copyrighted music from that organization, if you hope to play a variety of music, it’s a good idea to license with all of them. Fortunately, there are exemptions for radio – food service establishments and commerce stores. These businesses cannot charge customers to see or hear music from the TV or radio, and they can’t share beyond the establishment. The music must also be broadcasted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which can make it difficult to put together a customized retail store playlist.
Whatever avenues you choose to take, if you don’t follow the law, you can pay up to $150,000 per song in damages. Finding an affordable, legal solution is important when choosing a retail store playlist that can draw in customers.
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A RETAIL STORE PLAYLIST SHOULD REFLECT YOUR BRAND
All marketing efforts, from social media posts to flyers, matter when you’re trying to communicate who you are and what you offer. Sound and music are no different as your retail store playlist reflects the essence and values you want to showcase in song. Ask yourself these questions that will help you convey your brand:
- What does my brand’s voice sound like? Is it playful and casual? Authoritative and reassuring?
- What brands in my competitive space appear to design their sounds rather than leave them to product engineers or licensing managers? What do their sounds convey?
In the competitive world we live in today, expressing yourself and your store in an accurate and authentic way is more vital than ever. If you don't choose a playlist, employees will. This leaves your audio brand open to being defined by the personal taste of employees, which could turn away customers. You also want to avoid a retail store playlist that only consists of songs you like – it must have significance and impact because you’re telling a story rather than just entertaining.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF MUSIC
You wouldn’t choose heavy metal for your retail store music playlist if you’re selling decorative pillows – the messages simply don’t mesh. While this example is simply understood, a more detailed thought process is needed.
This audio audit from the Content Marketing Institute helps you determine priorities and pieces in your brand content plan, so you can create a greater impact with your playlist.
DEFINE YOUR BRAND
Define your brand’s current positioning in the market and how it differs from competitors. Determine whether any current sounds and music you’re using are:
- Consistent with your brand values
Examine what audio elements competitors are using, as well as the themes, formats, or features your target audience is more likely to engage with. For example, if you’re marketing a coffee brand, here are common sector marketing themes that are enhanced with audio:
- Sensuality/Seduction: Orchestrated in a cinematic, romantic, or symphonic fashion, this has been a recurring theme in coffee marketing for years. Musical sounds include romantic mixtures of string instruments, noticeable reverberations of sound, the presence of a trumpet or other brass instruments, an intimate rhythmic base (muffled cymbals), and a marked bass line.
- The Family; The Everyday: Several brands have adopted this positioning, characterized by friendly, accessible, and jovial musical tones. Musical sounds include simple guitar or ukulele music, child-like chorus of voices, and jazz rhythms.
- Indulgent Pleasures: A commonly used, recurring theme in many coffee advertisements, this mood can be brought to life through sexy sounding music – often funk or lyrical. Musical sounds include those orchestrated in a more dramatic and cinematic manner.
GET INSPIRATION FROM OTHER BRANDS
Look at brands outside your area that have similar feelings you’d like to convey with your audio brand, and especially ones that could serve as inspiration.
ANALYZE TOUCH POINTS
Create a touch point (point of contact or interaction, especially between a business and its customers) analysis. What sound is currently heard at each of your brand’s touch points? What does each sound convey? Does it carry a positive sounding message? Does it align with your overall brand positioning and values? Are there other sounds that might communicate these qualities more powerfully?
CREATE A MOOD BOARD
You or an audio brand expert can create initial “audio mood boards,” or musical demonstrations of different ways to express your brand’s core values. These can be selected, evaluated, and refined until you’re certain you’ve found your dream sounds.
Finding the right music doesn’t end once you’ve hit play. Test the impact your retail store playlist has on customers through surveys, social media polls, or other types of user feedback.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON VOLUME
Volume can be the difference between a pleasant shopping experience and a reason for a customer’s swift exit. Younger crowds may like upbeat songs with a higher volume, and older individuals may prefer softer sounds in the background. Before you order sound equipment or update what you already have, make sure you know what ambiance you’re trying to convey. This will save you time and money.
NEED HELP PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR RETAIL STORE PLAYLIST?
A calming mood in a waiting area. A refined greeting to hotel guests. Rocking tunes that go great with beers and apps. At Promotion Technology Group, our analysis of your customers and their traffic patterns combined with your goals for the atmosphere of your setting all combine to create the perfect background music. Affordable hardware options and decades of partnership with music providers make PTG your musical one-stop shop. Schedule a meeting today! You can also take a look at all facets of audio for retail here.