To some, I’m known by my smart “street” guerilla fashion sense. However, I must point out, that even if my favorite stores of all time played songs like “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas, or even worse, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” I would be perfectly willing to dress shabbily and save myself from the Muzak. I’m not alone. According to Immedia, which recently carried out a survey of 1,000 shoppers, 23 percent said they would be less likely to return to a retailer if they didn’t like its choice of soundtrack. Believe me, I feel their pain. If you’ve heard songs like Los Del Rio’s “Macarena,” Cher’s “Believe,” or Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out,” I’m sure Immedia’s results come as no surprise.
While it’s easy to focus on the negatives, Immedia’s survey has an upside to it: 49 percent of consumers said they stayed longer as a result of the aural environment. The survey results encapsulate our philosophy that a great customer experience actively engages all five senses. Retailers dedicate virtually a fraction of the costs of the visual to the “aural” experience. Immedia’s scientific advisor Dr. Vicky Williamson notes, “a poor degree of fit between brand and music can result in negative customer feedback, lower sales and fewer customer referrals.” She also adds, “maximizing the positive impact of in-store music requires an understanding of how to match sound and brand.”
But retailers stand not only benefit from synergy of sound and brand; they can also benefit from monetizing components of the experience it offers customers. I recently documented this phenomenon by citing a Spanish chef who profited by selling the scents of his most popular culinary dishes. Like the power of scent, music is a prime territory to cultivate an emotional connection with the customer. And please, unless you own a veterinary clinic, there is absolutely no need for song lyrics like “who let the dogs out?” Ever.
So the question that remains is, “What is the appropriate soundtrack for your experience?”