How to enhance a retail space using sound, scent and sight

by FM Media
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Customers should be engaged on all levels in retail facilities, including through sound, scent and sight. Mood Media reveals how to appeal to these three of the five senses.

Shopping today must be an experience that consumers enjoy for its own sake. Shop owners want them to come into a retail facility, they want them to stay longer, they want them to spend more and they want them to come back and do it all again next week. So how can it be ensured that consumers are engaged with and that the bricks and mortar environment is made the most of?

One way to ensure this is through sound. Playing the right music in a retail facility can be extremely powerful. It’s important to consider what your facility sounds like. Getting the sound element of the store or shopping centre experience right can provide a positive uplift. Customers do not stay long in a retail space in which no music is playing, as the space does not make them feel comfortable. Whereas branded music enhances a customer’s in-store experience.
Retailers can either use their own devices and playlists in-store or outsource their musical branding. An important factor to remember when managing a retailer that has decided to use its own devices and playlists in-store is the fact that licences are required to reproduce music for playing in a public environment (AMCOS and ARIA – Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society and Australian Record Industry Association). Many are unaware of these licences and fail to pay. One advantage of outsourcing musical branding is that these licences will be taken care of and retailers will not need to spend time organising correct payment of the mandatory licensing fees to APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association) and PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia).

It is important to play music that doesn’t alienate the retailer’s target market and to not play music with lyrical content that can cause offence. When looking at a customer-centric music solution, certain issues need to be considered, such as:

  • What is the goal? What achievement is being aimed at?
  • Who is the customer, what do they listen to and does this demographic change throughout the day?
  • Would messaging within the music playlist help with in-store promotions and educating customers at the point of purchase?

Different music options can be trialled in stores over a few weeks until a mix that perfectly captures the feel of the store’s brand is created. Positive feedback from customers on the music played in a store is a sign that the right mood is being created and the store’s sound strategy is working.

Concerning how its branded music enhances its customers’ in-store experience, James Tohl of True Alliance notes, “It means our customers get a sense of luxury as they enter a Coach store, the excitement of travelling when they listen to world music as they browse through the North Face store, or helping the shopper enter the mods and rockers world of our Ben Sherman mansions. It helps us enhance our customers’ complete shopping experience.”

Once the right music is in place and purchases are being encouraged through promotional messaging, a facilities smell should be addressed. Scent marketing is sweeping the retail industry as brand marketers are discovering the strong role scent can play in their efforts to distinguish their brand and connect with customers in a powerful way.
A number of leading hotel chains, such as Sofitel, and luxury brands, like Guess, have known this for some time. The visual, audio and scent experiences of their retail spaces are consistent in every one of their environments everywhere around the world.
Digital signage also has a major part to play in enticing customers, as well as informing them. It is a vital communication tool, as the information and imagery available in the online environment can be brought to bear in-store.

In the battle for hearts and minds, and to attract customers to come and stay in your retail environment, what is being done in your store or centre? A real impact can be made on the commercial destiny of individual stores, as well as groups as a whole, even in these uncertain times, if some time is spent thinking about how the retail spaces’ environment can be used to engage the consumer through stimulating the senses of sight, sound and smell.
When considered against what some companies are paying in advertising and marketing, it’s a comparatively extremely small investment, which will help to maximise returns. It makes sense.

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