Music is a vital ingredient to any retailers brand mix and can be the key to keeping staff motivated and customers spending.

PRS for Music asked Rob Wood, creative director of bespoke music consultancy service Music Concierge who have worked with brands such as Mulberry and Harvey Nichols, to share some tips on how to make your music work harder for your business.

Take control of your music

Even though music is not a tangible physical thing, your customers are experiencing your brand through sound whether you like it or not. If you're not in control of it, you're missing a trick.

Some retailers don't think about it hard enough and just play mainstream chart music or a random selection. But doing this means you are not reflecting your brand identity and you could end up sounding like everybody else on the high street. Retailers need to consider which music represents their brand and will it speak relevance to their audience. Music can be used creatively to make you stand out.

What is your offer? Are you a premium store offering premium products therefore wanting people to linger for longer? If so, you also should be thinking about the type of music you use so that it conveys your high-end positioning, but also make sure the tempo is appropriate. For example slower tempo music will relax people and encourage longer browsing, whereas fast music could stimulate people to move through the store quicker.

‘Day-parting' your music selection

Time of day is crucial to what music you play. The feel of the music should be in tune with your trading pattern. For instance you may want to start the day with gentle rather than full-on sounds and gradually grow in tempo as you get busier. There is a different atmosphere on a busy Saturday shopping day to a quiet Tuesday morning and your music should reflect and acknowledge that.

Also pay attention to lyrical content. You don't want to offend customers so be mindful of swear words or cultural sensitivities.

Using music to customise atmosphere

The atmosphere in-store is crucial. You want to create a welcoming atmosphere and music plays a vital role in achieving this. The atmosphere is something that needs managing. Monitor the volume levels, assess how the music sounds. Also investing in a decent quality sound system will help create a better atmosphere. Low quality speakers will sound cheap and nasty and won't create an engaging atmosphere.

Expanding your music selection

Some stores allow staff to choose music, but this has its flaws as they are likely to be selecting tracks based on their personal taste rather than music that evokes the essence of the brand. It's also important to make sure the music is regularly updated whilst keeping it on-brand. Keeping the music fresh and relevant will be noticed by customers.

Music is such a wonderful and powerful art form that can be used in a creative and strategic way for your business so you actually touch people's hearts and emotionally connect with them. So why not use it to sound inspiring and unique to help your store experience and brand stand out.

Rob Wood:

PRS for Music is a society of around 115,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers - its members. It represents the rights of these members by licensing organisations to play, perform or make available music. It then distributes royalties to those members and societies fairly and efficiently.