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The Best Background Music for Shopping in Your Store

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While it can be difficult to identify the best background music for shopping, it’s easy to identify the music that is the worst. That music is annoying, loud, and so hard to listen to that it can send shoppers right back out the door they came in. 

Overhead music plays an important role in keeping shoppers in a store. When it’s bad, it sends customers running. That’s easy to avoid. But, you need more than music that “isn’t bad” when it comes to your retail store.

You need music that not only keeps shoppers in the store, but also enhances their experience and increases sales for your business.

The right overhead music can:

  • Create a fully branded experience and environment
  • Decrease customer stress and improve customer attitude
  • Provide cues to customers for how quickly they should move through the store
  • Improve employee satisfaction and productivity
  • Increase sales

Background music is more than filling an awkward silence in a retail store. It’s a tool for improving the performance of your store and the experience of everyone who steps inside.

So don’t aim to just provide music that “isn’t bad.” Shoot for finding the music perfect for your unique store and shoppers.  To help you identify the best background music for shopping in your store, make sure it meets the following qualifications.

It’s not based on personal preferences.  

Liking the overhead music for your store isn’t a disqualifier. You don’t have to stop playing the music you like. But, just because you like a certain style of music doesn't mean it is the right fit for your business or customers.

While it might be tempting, do not choose the music for your store based on personal preferences. Also, don’t let store managers or other employees change the music based on their preferences. The best background music for shopping in your store alway matches customer preference first. Play what they want to hear.

It matches your brand personality.

To figure out what your customers want to hear, start by considering your business as a whole. Write down brand characteristics that define the personality of your business. Then, match the characteristics with a music style that shares the same qualities.

For example, a retail store that sells high-end jewelry may have brand qualities such as sophisticated and elegant. They may choose a classical music playlist that matches those characteristics.

Choosing a sound that matches your business personality provides brand continuity -- and it can also increase sales. A study by Texas Tech University found that when a wine store changed their music from top-forty to a more sophisticated style with  classical music, customers selected more expensive merchandise. The customers were influenced by the more refined sound to buy more refined wine.

To get ideas for your sound, click here to sample a library of background music options. 

It fits your target audience.

Once you determine a sound that matches your brand, dig a little deeper. Consider how your target audience would respond to the background music.

Seek songs and sounds for your overhead music playlist that match the preferences and interests of your ideal shopper. Use music that fits their tastes, and disqualify songs that don’t suit their preferences.

It creates the right in-store experience.

Finding the best background music for shopping isn’t just about picking the right songs. It’s also about picking music with the right tempo, rhythm, and volume.

Studies have shown that background music in retail stores actually impacts the way that customers engage with their environment.

  • Slow music causes customers to relax and spend more time in the store.
  • Music with a fast tempo causes customers to move more quickly throughout a store and decreases the time they spend shopping.
  • Loud foreground music causes younger shoppers to stay in a store longer.
  • Soft background music causes older shoppers to spend more time shopping.

So as you select music for your store, consider your audience and the type of shopping experience you want them to have and choose the sound that matches.  

It’s mixed with the right messages.

Overhead sounds in your retail store aren’t restricted to music. To get the most out of your sound system, you can also incorporate strategic overhead messaging.

Customers in your store are an engaged audience so you can effectively use overhead messaging to connect with them and:

  • Direct them to specific departments
  • Alert them of sales and specials
  • Promote products and services
  • Share event announcements
  • And more

Use this resource to find out what you can say in overhead messaging and to view a library of samples.

It isn’t annoying your staff.

While picking background music that your customers will like should be a priority, you can’t completely forget about your staff. Employees are subjected to overhead music for long stretches of time. When the music frustrates or annoys them, it can have an impact on the performance of your store.

Overhead music impacts employee productivity and morale. You need the right balance of music and variety of songs that makes employees happy while still matching the themes and needs of your store.


Further Reading: See how Walmart readjusted their overhead music strategy when employees started complaining about hearing too much Justin Bieber and Celine Dion.

It won’t get you in trouble.

One of the most important factors in selecting the best background music for shopping is often one that retailers overlook -- choosing music that is legal to play.

There are complicated legalities when it comes to playing music in a retail space. You could be breaking those rules if you are playing songs through:

  • The radio
  • CDs
  • iPods
  • Streaming services like Pandora or Spotify

Many businesses make this error without even realizing it. But this isn’t a mistake that is easy to walk away from if you are caught. In Tampa, 25 businesses were sued after it was discovered that they were playing copyright without a license.

Playing unlicensed music in retail stores can be an expensive mistake to make. Eleven of the reported settlements in Tampa ranged from $10,200 to $62,000. So when selecting music, make sure you know the rules and use only licensed music and playlists.  

Find the best background music for shopping in your store.

These seven qualifiers can help you review your overhead music strategy and determine if you are using the best background music for shopping.

But, if you want to be sure that your music is properly guiding customers, not annoying your staff, matching your branding, and legal to use -- we can help.

Click the button below to request a free consultation with one of Spectrio’s overhead messaging and customer experience experts. 

Get started with customized Overhead Music for your business

Tags: overhead music retail marketing

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