If you have a design showroom, your goal is to create an environment where your customers can find what they’re looking for and enjoy their overall experience as well. A big part of creating this environment is playing music in the background while they are in your store.
The right music can help your customers relax, find what they’re looking for, and even find new things that they didn’t expect to find. Ultimately, it can help them to leave your store feeling positive about your brand.
Music for Your Showroom Experience
This is because music, even music that is only playing in the background, can have a deep impact on people’s emotional states. Playing the right music in your design showroom can have a serious effect on the kind of experience your customers have in your store, which means that the right music can influence how your customers feel about your products.
For example, slow-paced music tends to encourage your customers to slow down, take more time looking around your store, and otherwise engage more in the showroom experience. More up-tempo music typically encourages customers to move faster.
Genre, Audience & Vision
Beyond tempo, choosing the right genre will also make a big difference. Classical music nudges people into paying more for luxury items, like expensive clothes. As far back as 1993, the Association for Consumer Research showed that customers were more willing to pay upward of 40 percent more for other luxury items (like wine and watches) compared to items that they purchase when there is no background music playing or when a design showroom is playing another genre of music.
Another part of choosing the right music for your showroom is choosing the right music for your audience. Consider the age, gender, income level (purchasing power), and education level of the people who walk into your retail space. Think about the kind of music that appeals to them (and not the kind of music you or your employees would like to hear).
A 2001 study published in The Sociological Review suggests that certain retail experiences require vision — whether your consumers can picture themselves using the products you’re selling in your showroom. A big driver in helping to paint that picture is the music that consumers hear (even if they’re not immediately aware that they’re hearing music) as they create the mental image of using your product. Without the right music, the image is dimmed.
Obtaining the Right License for Your Showroom
There’s more to having the right music for your design showroom than simply playing something off your Spotify account. You need to choose music that is legal to play, and that means obtaining the correct license to play music in your place of business.
To do this, you must request proper licensing from a performing rights organization (PRO), such as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. PROs are the bodies that liaise between music publishers (who themselves represent songwriters and composers) and the general public (which, in this case, covers industry professionals).
The PROs make sure that songwriters and their publishers are paid for use of their creative products in the appropriate way. Listening to music over a personal Spotify account is a very different context than playing the same piece of music in a public setting.
If you want to play the right music in your design showroom, you must purchase the appropriate license from a performing rights organization. Failure to do so could lead to tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
While you can seek a contract with the appropriate PRO for every song you want to play in your business, it’s much easier to use a commercial music streaming service. You simply need an account with this kind of service, and you are free to legally play any of the music they offer in your place of business.
Example Playlists for Design Showrooms
What is a good playlist for your design showroom? A Spotify playlist called Luxury Upscale Chillout (Music for High Fashion Boutiques and Lounge Bars) has examples of the right kind of music you should be looking for. The songs are all midtempo, with a nice sense of rhythm to keep your guests engaged, without being too ambient or invigorating. For the songs that have lyrics, the vocal track is similarly low-key, without loud or rapid singing.
Another playlist, Retail: Sophisticated uses more contemporary music, which has the benefit of being familiar and inviting to your customers, compared to more background-oriented, if generic, songs in other playlists.
For a design showroom, you would still want to create an atmosphere of sophistication, but that does not have to come at the expense of recognizable music. As long as you know your audience and your brand, you can find the right music to set the scene for you to engage with your customers.
How Background Music Can Make Your Customers Spend More Money (December 2016). VMSD.
Classical Music Makes You Buy More Expensive Clothes, Research Shows. (December 2018). Classic FM.
The Influence of Background Music on Shopping Behavior: Classical Versus Top-Forty Music in a Wine Store. (1993). The Association for Consumer Research.
‘When You’re Trying Something on You Picture Yourself in a Place Where They Are Playing This Kind of Music’– Musically Sponsored Agency In The British Clothing Retail Sector. (December 2001). The Sociological Review.
Who Picks Out the Playlists You Hear While Shopping? (April 2018). Racked.
Milestone for BMI: More Than $1 Billion in Music Royalties. (September 2017). The New York Times.