How to Increase Retail Sales with Curated Music
Put simply by music industry exec Ryan Ayanian: “Good music equals good business.” As it turns out, that assertion is backed by science, as countless studies log the effects of music on consumer behavior. For example, fast, loud music makes shoppers move faster without reducing sales, so it’s a good pace to have in fast-fashion outposts like Forever 21 and retailers that want to keep traffic moving, like grocery stores.
Conversely, slow tempos cause customers to linger longer, proven by a 1999 study by Caldwell and Hilbert that revealed diners spent more time eating (and a higher dollar amount on food and alcohol) while listening to slow music. On that note, fast music caused shorter eating times and therefore a shorter wait for patrons. The point is, different music can serve different objectives, so the first task is to determine what your store is trying to achieve.
Ayanian’s Coterie Playlist: Volume 7 features a mix of funk/disco inspiration, laid back R&B and upbeat techno.
“First, you have to identify who your customer is and what your intentions are for them,” Ayanian—the longtime music curator behind Coterie—notes. “Do you want to keep them there longer or move them through quickly? From that point, create a brand identity for yourself using those touchpoints.”
Tempo and volume aren’t the only factors to consider. A 1993 study by Texas Tech University compared the difference in consumer behavior playing classical versus Top-Forty music in a wine store. Results showed that playing classical music lead to consumers choosing for more expensive bottles and spending more overall than when pop music was played. But in that same vein, if you aren’t selling high-end goods, you don’t want customers to be intimidated by classical music, assume the store is out of their price range, and leave.
Ayanian’s Coterie Playlist: Volume 8 is retro-meets modern with a mix of upbeat and chill tempos.
Once you’ve developed your consumer profile, Ayanian says the next step is to think about clusters of music anywhere from five to 10 songs. (Whatever you do, he says, don’t opt to put Pandora on shuffle and walk away.) “You want to create peaks and valleys of energy,” he adds. “Use that theory and then break it down for morning, afternoon and evening.” Ayanian says hiring an expert is a great place to start, but small stores can do it themselves with Spotify or an iPod. With limitations of music licensing, medium- and large-sized stores will need to use licensed music, most likely obtained from curation services.
Ayanian takes all of those factors into account when creating a whopping 10-hour playlist for Coterie. “You can’t please everyone all the time, but if I have to be in a booth or walking around all day, the last thing I want is to be bombarded with horrible music,” he laughs. “The goal is for it to be uplifting and take you on a journey from the time you’re in there to the time you leave.”
Ayanian’s Coterie Playlist: Volume 7 combines house music with slowed-down beats and techno vocals.
“In the morning, it’s more happy Motown kind of stuff and then it goes into eclectic, more-modern disco music. There are peaks and valleys,” Ayanian explains, adding that the overall goal is for no complaints. “And when you walk around and see people Shazaming the music, that’s the best feeling.”
The best part is, if you love Ayanian’s picks, attendees can take it with them with his exclusive Coterie compilation. The mix-master is currently in the process of putting together his ninth compilation for the show, where he aims to mix up-and-coming artists with exclusive material from longtime sensations.
Listen to all of Ayanian's curated Coterie Volumes on the UBM Fashion Spotify Playlist, and keep your ears peeled at NY Women's & Children's this Feb. 26–28 at the Jacob Javits Center, NYC.