Background music is a very common element in supermarkets, hypermarkets, shopping centres and food stores.
Apart from promoting brand image, improving worker productivity or increasing customer traffic, music also helps create the perfect atmosphere and directly invites people to buy, which means more sales.
This sound element considerably influences our behavior when buying new products.
In fact, numerous studies prove that a good musical thread increases the time consumers spend in the store.
In the same way, if customers do not perceive through music that warm and trusting atmosphere, you will transmit the opposite of what you are looking for, something that will undoubtedly be reflected in your profits.
Also, keep in mind that playing music for the supermarket is not as simple as connecting the sound system to a laptop with YouTube, Spotify or a radio station. This would be an illegal practice.
But don’t worry, throughout this article, we’ll clarify all your doubts and propose the best solutions for sound in your hypermarket.
Music as a method to increase purchases
It is well known that “music tames the beasts”, and with many animals, it is perfectly fulfilled. With humans, however, it might be better to use the term “control” rather than ” tame”.
This is because, beyond taming us, music activates us, inciting us to compulsive buying. The music that achieves this goal is called “emotional musical selection” because it directly attacks our feelings.
The fact is that music usually generates a feeling of well-being in the consumer.
When we play songs that improve our mood, we end up associating them with something good, and when we listen to them, we automatically become instantly happy.
The same way it happens when we make the purchase:
if we’re happy, we’ll buy compulsively and spend more money on the establishment.
How important is music in a supermarket?
The importance of music in food stores and hypermarkets is not a current trend, but there are records of studies on this subject for several decades.
As early as 1979, Mr. Burleson and Mr. Linsen found evidence that three out of four consumers made their purchases with a music background, of which two-thirds tended to think that the brand cared about them because of this simple fact. For this reason,
customers tend to better evaluate stores that play music, and above all, known music.
But there are more studies on this subject. Below are some figures that have been collected in this area and what they mean for the business and its consumers.
Music changes the consumer experience
80% of purchase decisions are made impulsively at the point of sale
50% of people leave the store because they are bothered by the selection of songs
39% of them never return
Correct music selection improves in-store time rate
40% of customers spend more time in the store if they feel the music is well chosen.
Better music = more time spent = more sales
The right music increases brand loyalty
21% recommend you if they felt good about the music
31% return if music is appropriate
Music generates an identity
97% of the managers of the world’s top retailers recognize that music strengthens brand personality.
As shown by the data,
Reaching as many customers as possible through music will increase sales.
Fast music or slow music?
This is a question many supermarket managers ask themselves. It will depend a lot on the rhythm of the music to cause one effect or another.
Usually, the use of slow music is done to keep more customers in the store, something that subconsciously brings confidence to the rest of the people.
On the other hand, fast music is usually used for times when there is a large crowd. The goal is to dispatch them as soon as possible to generate more revenue and boost sales.
These techniques are widely used among well-known supermarket chains and shopping centers.
However, using one type of music or another is also affected by 3 components:
The target audience
The time of day
The shop area
With regard to the public, we must consider whether it is a supermarket focused on young people, older people or all kinds of people.
This is because musical tastes are not the same in all age ranges and therefore cannot be encouraged in the same way.
On the other hand, if we look at the different times of day, we can appreciate that a supermarket does not receive the same people at 10 in the morning as at 7 in the evening.
Depending on how the flow of people is, the music will be more relaxed to encourage slower consumption and keep people in the room longer, or faster music to subconsciously create an agitation in the customer that makes him buy in a compulsive way.
The same goes for the different places in the store.
If it is a hypermarket that sells both food and technology products, books or home furnishings, it will be normal to provide slow music in places with more expensive products, where you want to keep the customer longer.
On the other hand, in the food products area, music will be more animated to incite a quick and large scale purchase.
Having clarified the uses and situations for which one type of music or another is used, we will now look at the musical genres that work best in the supermarkets.
Copyright in music for supermarkets
Remember, when you’re humming or concentrating on the song in the background of the super, that song may have a copyright on it.
The copyright, also known as author’s rights, is nothing more than the exclusive right of reproduction of the work held by the author, publisher or record company.
Put more simply, copyright gives the author absolute power over their song, and no one else can reproduce it without their consent.
All media that play well-known music (TV, Radio, Spotify, etc.), in order to do so legally, have had to pay money to the companies that manage the copyright of those works.
PROs, the people in charge of copyright protection
PROs stands for ‘Performance Rights Organizations’. This organism is in charge of defending and managing the intellectual property rights of artists in each country:
ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in the United States
SOSAC in Canada
PRS and PPL in the United Kingdom
APRA AMCOS in Australia
ACEMLA in Latin América
SGAE in Spain
By paying a fee, whose amount to be paid is different according to the case and the area of the places where the music will be used, it will allow third parties to use known songs in a legal way.
However, the amounts that are usually required to be able to use famous music are quite high and, in most cases, it does not compensate to make the payment.
Don’t use copyrighted music without paying
One of the questions people often ask is this:
What if I use copyrighted music without paying?
Due to the high cost of licensing by copyright societies, many consider using music illegally. They tend to think, mistakenly, that no one will notice.
They don’t know that these societies regularly inspect all kinds of businesses that may be using music in the background.
In the event that you have decided to do this illegal act and receive one of these uncomfortable visits, the consequences will almost certainly be the following:
You will be forced to pay the fees for the period you have been using music without their consent
You’ll be financially penalized for playing music illegally
You may be held legally responsible, or even criminally liable, depending on the seriousness of your particular case.
Actually, using copyrighted background music illegally is the worst decision you can make.
But don’t worry. Luckily the PROs option is just one of several options you have for sounding your supermarket.
Supermarket music: the 2 best services
Having seen the pros and cons of using PROs fees to legally use known music, below we will show you the two best options for using background music in your hypermarket in a legal and economical way.
Created by two former Spotify employees, the company has a close collaboration agreement with the music giant, which allows all its subscribers to synchronize both accounts in order to legally use all their playlists in commercial establishments.
In addition, once you purchase a monthly subscription, you will be able to access the platform remotely, managing all the music played in your establishment from any location and device.
It will allow you, among many other things, to program different types of music for different days of the week and hours of the day, to play its more than 300 soundtracks in all your supermarkets and to have total and absolute control of your company’s sensory marketing.
How much does a SoundTrack Your Brand subscription cost?
Unlike the exaggerated fees of the copyright societies, where the amount to be paid depends on the square meters of your establishment and the number of premises, at Soundtrack Your Brand they have decided to make it easy for everyone.
For this reason, they have decided to solve the problem of music in your business at a fixed monthly price of $26.99 -for the USA and Canada-. No changes. No sudden rises. No worries.
You just pay, plan the music and forget about everything else.
If your supermarkets are not in these countries, it is possible that the price of this service may vary. You can go to their pricing page and take a look to make sure what the final rate would be.
Cloud Cover Music is an American platform whose objective is to offer streaming radio stations to businesses and physical stores. It is one of the sector’s leading companies in the North American market.
They are currently providing their services and their more than 155 music stations to more than 15,000 shops, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, warehouses and gyms.
In fact, among its most outstanding clients are BMW, McDonalds, Dominos Pizza or T-Mobile.
As with the service we have previously introduced, you will also be able to remotely manage all the music in your business, programming it for each day and time, combining any of its stations to mix it to your liking.
What is the price of the Cloud Cover Music plans?
The prices they handle in Cloud Cover Music depend on the plan you purchase and the needs you need to cover.
Important Information if you do not live in the U.S. or Canada
Although there are advantages to Cloud Cover Music, unfortunately, it is not a platform that can be used worldwide.
It only offers its services to users residing in North American territory, that is, in the United States and Canada. Therefore, if your supermarket is not established in one of these two countries, this service will not be valid for you.
However, if this is not your particular case, then the following message is of interest to you.
Cloud Cover Music is offering its new customers up to 14 days completely free of charge. You can try 100% of the platform at no cost to see if it is the service you were looking for.
The 5 factors of background music that affect us in a supermarket
After seeing the advantages of the best streaming music services for supermarkets, let’s move on to remember the 5 aspects of music that most influence customers during their stay in the store.
1. The musical rhythm to increase sales
According to a 1982 study by Professor Ronald E. Milliman called “Using Background Music to Affect Supermarket Shopper Behavior”, the music thread affected both the speed with which we move through the stores and the sales.
During that experiment, it was deduced that by using fast music, people would speed up more and tend to impulse buy. Similarly, using slower music meant that customers spent more time in the store and more money – up to 38 percent more on days with slow music.
These results give us that
The atmosphere created in a supermarket through music is of vital importance to subconsciously influence customers and encourage sales.
2. Well-known music for comfort
As we showed in the example with which the article began, after listening to several songs, it is very possible to fall into the loss of the notion of time.
This is due to the effect of familiarity in the musical thread. Something that is demonstrated in an experiment by Yalch and Spangenberg in 2000, in which they tested the difference of using known music versus unknown music.
The result obtained showed that people, when listening to unknown music perceived that time passes faster, that is, they spent less time in the store than those who listened to known music.
In conclusion, we can say that listening to music that is familiar to us – or even that we like – is comforting and entertaining, something that reduces the impact of situations that seem more uncomfortable, such as waiting in line.
3. Sophisticated music to increase average spending
According to the curious study carried out by North, Hargreaves, and McKendrick in 1999 on the influence of music on the purchase of wine, it could be demonstrated that, on the days when French music was played, there was a greater tendency to buy French wine.
However, after asking customers if they were aware of the music, they responded in the negative.
Another fact is that, by using classical music, the perception of the items will be of a higher quality and, depending on how and when it is used, it will generate one effect on the customers and another.
From this we can say that, depending on the music genre and style of such music, the direct effect it will have is to increase the purchase of more expensive products.
4. Soft music to keep the customers
One of the reasons why background music is used is to avoid having an uncomfortable silence, or worse, the sound of voices, carts and everyday sounds that would make us perceive the shopping experience in an uncomfortable way.
However, if the music is above the correct level, it will have the opposite effect to the desired one.
According to data that researchers Cain-Smith and Curnow obtained in 1966 on whether the volume affected supermarket shoppers,
customers stayed considerably less time when the music was too loud.
In contrast, music at lower volumes not only allowed them to shop in a normal manner but also calmed them down and caused the time spent examining and purchasing products to increase considerably.
5. The offers modify – for the better – the purchase phase
How many times have you heard in a supermarket that there is a promotion in a certain section or a 2×1 in a certain product while you are shopping? Probably quite a few. We are used to this practice, which is certainly effective.
Even if you didn’t plan to go to that section or buy that product, the fact that you are informed of the promotion makes you go there out of pure curiosity, which, in a high percentage of cases, you end up buying.
This is something that directly modifies your buying habits in a subconscious way, without you having planned it, increasing at the same time the average cost of the purchase ticket.
From the moment you walk into a supermarket to the moment you leave it, many things happen that you are not aware of.
However, all of them are studied and designed to the millimeter to promote a pleasant shopping experience and thus increase your average spending.
The decoration, the layout of the sections, the products, the style of the salespeople, the smells you breathe, the light… all the details are of great importance.
But if there is one aspect that stands out from the rest to increase sales, that is music.
Music is a natural conduit for transferring emotions
Just as we use melancholy songs for sad days, the use of more cheerful songs in the supermarkets generates a sense of well-being in the consumer.
This is purely emotional: if the consumer feels good, he will spend more time in the store and tend to spend more money.
You know the styles that work best to generate those positive emotions, just as you know the function of using faster, slower rhythms or familiar songs.
However, I’d like to remind you that to use certain music from famous artists, it won’t be enough to turn on the radio or connect your stereo to Spotify.
This is an illegal practice and you will be in breach of copyright. You would be exposing yourself to severe fines and legal penalties.
Both services will provide your hypermarket with the best music you can get to get the results you are looking for, i.e. increase sales.
And all this without the need to be in a fixed location. Due to the features they offer, you will be able to carry out the whole process of music selection and programming by day and time from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Soundtrack is offering its new customers a whole month at zero-cost so that they can try out the platform in its entirety.
For its part, Cloud Cover Music has decided to give you a 14-day free trial period in which you can use its more than 155 streaming radio stations without spending a single euro.
Remember: Cloud Cover Music is only available to businesses located in the United States or Canada.
Keep this in mind when choosing the platform that best suits your needs. It’s up to you to decide on one or the other to start improving your sales right away.
Pablo Olóndriz founded Legis Music in 2016 and, since then, has been working non-stop on the online Royalty-Free industry, managing to build a great source of information for people who need amazing background music for their projects and videos.
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