In the past, the traditional balance of power between retailer and consumer has always favoured the retailer. Over the last few decades however, this power has shifted to the consumer. The internet means that today, shoppers have access to more complete and transparent information. Search tools, comparison sites and mobile apps mean consumers no longer need to rely on retailers to find out the best deals, or to learn about a product’s specifications; they can make an informed decision on their own without stepping foot in a store. Once they’ve made a decision they can even have that product delivered right to their door, cutting the store out completely. They can then quickly and easily share their buying experience through social networking sites.
So in a world of internet savvy, price smart shoppers, where does this leave the retailer?
This isn’t a sudden development, and retailers have been finding new ways to differentiate themselves beyond the products they offer for years; Jack Wills’ stores are shop-fitted to resemble houses, Harvey Nichols have elegant welcoming doormen and Abercrombie & Fitch are famous for having attractive shop assistants. What it all boils down to is offering an enjoyable customer experience that ultimately builds an emotional connection between consumer and retailer. If the customer can get the same product at several other outlets (and online), it is an emotional connection that is going to make them WANT to visit you.
In-store music is a powerful way to create an instant emotional connection with customers. The perfect music will reflect the brand’s identity, put the customer at ease and make them feel good. For example House of Fraser play certain music in each of their departments to reflect the customer demographics in those areas. They also play music based on customer’s moods throughout the day; music on a Saturday reflects the mood of customers shopping for an outfit for the night. The stores are relating to their customers, and this creates a connection which in turn creates loyalty.
The look and feel of the store, the attitudes of the shop assistants (are they friendly and personable?) and the products being sold are all other fundamentally important factors in building the emotional connection. When you next make a trip in to town or a shopping centre, think about the stores you simply can’t resist going in to…and think about why.
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