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Stimulating Senses Can Lead to Sales

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | June 23, 2015
At Emporia Main Street we often talk about creating an inviting atmosphere.  In those discussions or articles, the discussion generally revolves around visual aesthetics.  How we interact with the world we see as we perceive quality, safety and excitement goes a long way towards encouraging buying decisions among the consuming public.  However, our hunter-gatherer minds engage other senses that can support the decision to buy or spend time in a storefront.
With on-line music portals, local radio and many other options for local businesses, how do you choose what to play?  Musical genres played in your business type have little to do with your personal preference, but understanding who your customer is and how you want them to shop is important in determining the sound of your business.
Does your business require quick customer turn-over?  Do you want to excite your customer, or do you want them to relax?  How do you want your business perceived by your target audience?  Is your customer’s shopping or service related visit a solitary experience, or do you encourage groups?  What is your target audience’s age range and gender?  Answering these questions can help you determine what types of music to play.

Tempo – “Faster” music styles encourage excitement and a person’s internal clock tends to speed up when exposed to “fast” music.  If you have a fast food establishment or other types of businesses that seek to turn over customers quickly, this may be the genre for you.  However, if you are a restaurant or bar where you want people to linger for a while, slower music may fit your business type.
Tone – Higher pitch music also creates a “fast” vibe.  So, for many business types, removing vocals allows people to slow down and explore options.  Some people will refer to music types as “elevator”, “grocery store” or “on-hold” music.  These musical types are chosen to calm individuals and encourage them to weigh options or shop longer.  A study in the mid 1980s concluded that the in-store music choice could influence sales by as much as 15% per customer.
Volume – Pumping up the volume may be a good thing at a party, but consumers typically don’t want to focus on the music being played (and you want their attention on your products).  Music played too softly defeats the purpose of background music, but music played too loudly can discourage customer interaction and decrease shopping or service duration.
Genre – Who is your average customer?  Finding popular music that speaks to your target audience causes the subliminal link between liking the music and liking your product.  Think of commercials that play modern popular music that speaks to their target demographic.  The most popular songs on pop music charts are often used to encourage product sales.  As age ranges shift for products, companies will often pick the most popular songs associated with a particular generation and associate that song with a product for a specific target audience.

Gender – Although men and women often share musical tastes, if your business targets one gender in a much greater proportion, you may want to select music that represents their musical tastes.  If my wife were shopping for yarn and heard the Dixie Chicks playing in the background, she might smile and pick up a skein of yarn.  If I heard the Dixie Chicks as I was shopping for NFL Draft Guides, I might not have the same reaction.
If you are looking for on-line music options for your business, some of the more popular options include:
Remember, if you are not using a licensed service you may be violating rules for compensation of artists, professional organizations like ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) can and will litigate on behalf of artists.  It is important to determine a legal way to utilize music as a way to enhance your business environment, but that requires a little spending and effort on your part.
Think about enhancements to your business environment.  Whether you are an accountant keeping your line of customers calm during tax season or a clothing store owner who wants to increase the shopping duration of customers, a little strategic music can give your business a competitive edge.
See this article and MUCH more in this week’s Emporia Main Street E-newsletter!

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.


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