Music can enhance the customer experience even in nontraditional retail environments, suggests a study released Thursday by Mood Media and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers (SACEM). The study was conducted in France.
Customers had a more favorable experience in five business locations — including gas station, optical, banking, sports apparel, and pharmacy locations, the study found.
“It’s undeniable that music has an amazing ability to connect on an intimate and personal level,” said Danny Turner, global senior vice president of creative programming at Mood Media.
“Brands that understand the connectivity between brand and in-store experience, facilitated by the incredible power of music to forge an emotional bond, are well on their way to elevating their customer experience,” he told CRM Buyer.
Businesses should consider overhead music as important as store layout, lighting, or other key design elements, said Valentina Candeloro, international marketing director at Mood Media.
Mood Media has begun designing music programs for an increasingly diverse body of retail locations, she told CRM Buyer, including auto dealerships, credit unions, apartment buildings, and retirement home communities.
When researchers designed the study, data indicated that 90 percent of French people listened to music every day, but only 70 percent of businesses played music, Candeloro noted.
Some of the non-retail businesses, like pharmacies, opticians, and banks, were concerned about the impact music would have, given the more serious nature of transactions or activities taking place in their locations, she said.
“The results of this study revealed and quantified the impact and potential that music offers across a wide array of business types,” said Jean-Felix Choukroun, director of customer relations at SACEM.
Seventy percent of study respondents reported a more positive perception of a business when music was playing overhead, while 65 percent said that music at the location helped differentiate the business from the competition.
Ninety-three percent of employees at those locations preferred music over no music at work.
When customers at more serious locations, like banks and pharmacies, were asked if they wanted music, only 33 percent said they thought music would be appropriate.
However, 76 percent of the customers who experienced music at those types of locales said they thought the music was complementary and compatible with the businesses.
Music absolutely can have a positive impact in driving retail traffic and keeping customers engaged at a particular location, said Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research.
“The gist is, it absolutely helps,” she told CRM Buyer. “It leads to shoppers staying longer and being in a more pleasant mood.”
Research has shown that you need a minimum two-hour loop of in-store music to prevent employees from being driven crazy by repetition and turning the music off, Baird noted.
In-store or in-business music can have a definite positive impact on the net promoter score of a location, which reflects the willingness of customers to recommend that business to others, noted Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
For example, the lobby music of W Hotels — Starwood Hotels’ hip hospitality brand — has become popular enough to spawn its own Spotify playlist, she told CRM Buyer, as well as a microsite just for W music fans.