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Retailers can be smarter with music

News, 16 December 2015

NEW YORK: Retailers need to take a more considered approach to their choice of in-store music during the festive season as a significant proportion of shoppers feel strongly about this subject.

"Retailers [should] really work to understand who their customers are and what type of purchasing environment they desire," said Bruce Winder, a partner in the Retail Advisors Network.

"For some customers, traditional holiday music may inspire them and get them in the spirit of the holiday," he told Ad Week. "For others, however, it may be too much and turn them off."

Past surveys have indicated that almost one quarter of consumers "dread" holiday music while over one third claim to have walked out of a store because of the music they were forced to listen to.

"It's important to match the vibe of the business — matching the type of holiday music to what the business plays on a regular basis the rest of the time," recommended John Bradley, chief music officer for Custom Channels, which provides streaming music services to retailers in North America.

And he also advised stores to avoid playing only Christmas music but to go with a 60/40 mix of holiday and regular music.

"It can be fatiguing," he said, for both customers and staff. Plus, the chances are consumers are hearing the same tunes in many of the stores they go into.

The four top tips are: avoid novelty music, vary the mix, don't play it too loud and think about tailoring playlists to different times of the day or week when different demographic groups may be shopping.

And sometimes no music at all is worth considering as a way of giving a rest to those people suffering from seasonal auditory excess.

Data sourced from Ad Week; additional content by Warc staff