In-store radio helps create the mood for shoppers

One of the most frequent discussions about the retail world in recent years has been the slow and lingering death of physical stores and the traditional high street.

The world has an increasing desire to shop online. One only has to look at how the frequency of this has steadily increased to see that the writing may be on the wall for traditional stores.

But having a physical presence is important for retailers, even if they also operate online, so many are looking at ways to increase both footfall and individual spend by consumers.

While getting people in off the street may be a question of attractive window displays, effective advertising and competitive pricing, it’s creating the right environment within the store that encourages spending. Store design is certainly important but there’s another, more subtle, way that has been shown to work – and that is the soundtrack to the visit.

Music has long been known to affect the behaviour of shoppers and a number of interesting experiments have been conducted in the past. In one example, a wine shop alternated playing French and German-style music on different days of the week. On the days when the former was played, sales of French wine increased, likewise with the German tunes.

The tempo of music has also been found to affect behaviour. Slow, ambient sounds encourage shoppers to linger while faster beats see them moving through the stores more quickly. Up-tempo music undoubtedly has a role to play in certain situations, for example in online casinos in which it’s used to add to the excitement of playing slots games. That’s why you’ll find it widely used at over 100 online casinos who also offer generous bonuses and a wide range of games to increase their own player numbers.

But, for the retail environment, it’s more of a question of controlling the mood and shifting gear during a shopper’s visit. Certainly, the most effective way of doing this, far more than just playing muzak, is to have an in-store radio station. These used to be far more common than they are now and even gave some high profile presenters like Chris Moyles their first foot up in the business.

The benefits of a presented and curated station are predominantly concerned with the extra flexibility to also give out personal messages, push promotions and generally make a connection with the listeners/shoppers.

These are all things that could play a vital role in giving many major chains the shot in the arm that they need. Many are already doing this, of course. ASDA’s in-store radio station is said to reach 18 million listeners a week – figures any national station would be delighted about – and budget chemist Superdrug has also seen sales increase since it started its own youth-orientated station.

So here’s hoping more big names will follow suit – and perhaps they’ll also be able to attract a big name presenter or two from the world of radio.

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