Working in a retail environment is hard. Typically, shop owners need to entice their customers to walk through the door, and once they have made the trip, they need to be convinced to make a purchase.
Liquor retailing is different. According to Nielsen, the majority of people who come into a liquor store are there to buy something. In fact, Nielsen says, among baby boomers, 76 percent only come to a liquor store because they know they need something. These aren't browsers. They are shopping with intent.
Given that most of your customers are there to spend money on the thing you are selling, can you afford to skip out on the ambience music can provide? Not quite. The right music and playlists can do things for your business that simple silence just can't.
Highlighting the Fun with Music
An expert writing in Psychology Today reports that people have a spike in drink cravings when they are exposed to things that remind them of drinking. These so-called cues work deep within the brain, far below the level of consciousness, and they can prompt people to do things they were never expecting to do in the first place.
When researchers examine the power of alcohol cues, as they did in a study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, they often lean on the visual. Researchers show people pictures of other people drinking, and they measure how much the participant in the study wants a drink after seeing those pictures.
In a way, your entire liquor store works as a visual drinking cue. When people walk through your doors, they see the following:
- Bottles of liquor
- Wine and beer glasses
- Bottle openers
- Cocktail shakers
- Liquor signs and posters
Each image they see can remind these people of the products they are about to consume and the fun they are about to have. You can augment that experience by adding music that reminds people of drinking.
For example, you could put together a playlist of songs that are all about drinking. Meeting your customers with country songs such as "Red Solo Cup" by Toby Keith or "The More I Drink" by Blake Shelton could reinforce the drinking vibe your products put across. You should be cautious about the lyrics in your songs, to ensure that you aren't highlighting an anti-drinking message with the words you are pushing across, but a fun and playful list about drinking could help your customers to enjoy their time with you just a bit more.
You could also consider playing music that is relaxing, which has no words at all. A study published in the Journal of Public Health found that people drink at home, in part, because they are hoping to relieve stress. People drinking at home to beat stress may not want to listen to party music. They may prefer softer songs on the jazz spectrum. If you notice that most of your customers come into your shop seeming stressed and worried, this could be a better choice for you. You could stick with classic jazz heavy on Miles Davis, or you could move to smooth jazz songs instead.
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1. Jazz: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1YGPLMocaTfdHBr9J2hXXw?si=IxHlv4TJS5qwy8hxfahUfg
Song: Jackie In The Rain
Artist(s): Terence Blanchard, Kenny Barron, Carl Allen, David Pulphus
Song: Blue in Green
Artist(s): Miles Davis
Song: Journey Into The Melody
Artist(s): Stanley Turrentine
Song: Cheese Cake - Remastered 1999/Rudy Van Gelder Edition
Artist(s): Dexter Gordon
Song: Dig Dis - Remastered 1999/Rudy Van Gelder Edition
Artist(s): Hank Mobley
Artist(s): Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Song: On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Artist(s): Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins
Song: Blue Bossa - Remastered
Artist(s): Joe Henderson
Song: Confirmation - Take 3 / Master
Artist(s): Charlie Parker Quartet
Song: So Tired - Remastered 2005
Artist(s): Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
2. Country (Drinking): https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3Jj1N0702byibWGn92xJ0b?si=LeNRt4bJTbGJDNZSsl2r8Q
Song: Drinking Class
Artist(s): Lee Brice
Song: Buy My Own Drinks
Artist(s): Runaway June
Song: Drink All Day
Artist(s): Jake Owen
Song: Drink In My Hand
Artist(s): Eric Church
Song: Drink Myself Single
Artist(s): Sunny Sweeney
Song: Drinkin' And Dialin'
Artist(s): Darius Rucker
Song: Drinkin' Town With A Football Problem
Artist(s): Billy Currington
Song: Fix a Drink
Artist(s): Chris Janson
Song: If You're Drinkin'
Artist(s): Ryan Robinette
Song: One More Drinkin' Song
Artist(s): Jerrod Niemann
3. R&B/Neo-Soul/Hip Hop: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4pkJLEhEKcKzWutOjz1GcY?si=ocITH5HZSKKuuICB9Ur36g
Song: Didn't Cha Know
Artist(s): Erykah Badu
Song: Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)
Artist(s): Four Tops
Song: All My People
Artist(s): Kindred The Family Soul
Song: LOVE AGAIN
Artist(s): Daniel Caesar, Brandy
Artist(s): Hiatus Kaiyote
Song: All Falls Down
Artist(s): Kanye West, Syleena Johnson
Song: Another Life
Artist(s): Free Nationals, Benny Sings
Song: Can I Kick It?
Artist(s): A Tribe Called Quest
Song: Gettin Up
Protecting Your Business
Before you play your music, you must secure the rights to play that music. Each song you play is likely protected by copyright laws, and there are enforcers out there who are willing to file lawsuits if you play songs without permission.
For example, Hartford Business reported on a restaurant in Connecticut that paid $18,000 after an agent of a copyright company got proof that the restaurant owners played nine songs without permission. The same could happen to you if you do not secure rights for the songs you play.
At Cloud Cover Music, we can help. We work with small business owners just like you to streamline and simplify the music business, so you can play music without breaking the law or enduring a fine. With one contract and one low fee, you can play the music you need and not worry about the consequences. Contact us for a free trial.
- The Alcoholic Beverage Opportunity: Understanding Boomer and Millennial Shopping Behavior. (May 2017). The Nielsen Company.
- Why Do People Drink? A Motivational Perspective. (March 2017). Psychology Today.
- Craving and Cognitive Biases for Alcohol Cues in Social Drinkers. (September 2005). Alcohol and Alcoholism.
- Why Do People Drink at Home? (March 2010). Journal of Public Health.
- Sued for a Song: Music Licensing Lawsuits Hit CT Restaurants. (March 2014). Hartford Business.