Creating the in-store sound for brands is the most important thing our Audio team does at AVC Immedia. We also help our partners analyse what their competitors are up to and consult with those who feel their store sound may need a refresh.
Here, we’re going to share some work we did in the health and beauty sector. Our brief was to see if the music complimented the stores and to make recommendations for how the brand could up their in-store music game.
What we saw
We visited branches of this retailer around the UK both on the high street, in shopping centres and on retail parks.
Despite all the diverse locations, every store we visited had a consistent look. Their brand colours stood out most, with the products in the health and beauty ranges proving a vibrant splash of colours.
The variety of products in the stores stood out. The health and wellbeing products are very current and on trend. Around them are more traditional products, from ankle supports to flu jabs.
What we heard
We heard two different things depending on which stores we were in. Some were playing commercial music that was driven by dance and RnB music.
Others were playing Alternatively Licensed music (sometimes erroneously called royalty-free music).
The stores playing commercial music had a great blend of familiar tracks, all upbeat and bright. The volume was just right. Loud enough to be noticed, not so loud as to be oppressive.
One of our team was searching for travel-sized toiletries for an upcoming trip. With the sound of David Guetta in her ears, she was taken away in her head to a place of beaches, swimming pools and scorching sun.
Then she looked up and realised that, at 11.30 on a wet Monday morning, most of the store’s customers probably weren’t there to plan a week in Ibiza. There’s a danger that if you get your music in-store wrong, people won’t feel like they belong in your stores.
The stores playing Alternatively Licensed music had different issues. Uniformly, they had the music turned down low. So low it was hard to hear. If this is happening, you’re wasting money paying for music that has no effect.
Alternatively licensed music is a way to save on music costs, but it’s got to be handled with extreme care. Our assumption here is that it’s been poorly chosen, and the store staff have reacted by turning it down.
In both cases of music, we felt that the music wasn’t working as hard as it could to build the brand’s identity or compliment the stores’ atmosphere.
What we would recommend
For the stores playing commercial music: think about who is in your stores more. It isn’t just what you play, but when you play it. Match your music to the time of day and day of week. Delight the people who are in your stores.
For the stores playing Alternatively Licensed tracks, contract an expert in this type of music. Someone who lives and breathes this specialist subject could inject new life into the sound of these stores.
Also, for those Alternatively Licensed stores, introduce volume standards that must be adhered to in the way many other store standards must be.
This brand would be right in thinking that music has become an afterthought in their otherwise, well presented stores.
Written by Euan McMorrow, Content Director at AVC Immedia.