Sonos Pro

How To Choose the Best Music for Every Retail Event

A photo of a technician on a ladder installing a Sonos speaker in a boutique retail store, with aromatherapy items arranged on a shelf and a desktop computer and keys on a desk

Sonos Pro Editorial Team

Brick-and-mortar is bouncing back in a big way: analysts project that American consumers will  spend over $5 trillion on in-store purchases this year. That makes 2024 the perfect time for retailers to invest in new ways to attract customers, drive sales, and even expand their business.

In this competitive landscape, business owners must do everything they can to set their stores apart and provide the best customer experience possible. This is especially true considering all the major retail events occurring over the course of the year — from the holiday season to the sales specific to your store or industry.

So, whether you’re selling electronics, luxury apparel, or consumer packaged goods, you need to create an environment that’s more engaging for buyers by creating the right shopping experience.

One often overlooked aspect of this experience is the music in your store. By finding the best music for your retail space, you can help drive customer purchases at any point in the year.

A photo of the inside of a retail store with clothing and home items, and an adult and child shopping and having an amusing conversation

Why you need to give your customers the perfect sound year-round

People are familiar with the emotional and mental benefits of listening to music in their personal lives, whether turning around a bad day or helping cement memorable experiences. But in the retail world, music also represents a low-cost, low-effort way of driving consumer behavior. It’s your behind-the-scenes employee that helps create an environment where customers are more likely to buy your products.

The tempo, genre, and volume of your music all impact the way customers navigate your store and make purchase decisions. Softer, low-tempo music can help calm shoppers during frenzied sales events, giving them more time to circulate and find the right items. If you’re looking to capitalize on high volume, fast-paced music will encourage shoppers to move quickly through your space, clearing the way for new customers.

In the current thriving retail landscape, matching your music to the occasion — whether it’s the holiday season, a back-to-school sale, or a typical weekend — gives you the competitive edge you need to boost business.

How to set the stage for any retail event with music

The shopping rush around major holidays and seasonal sales is critical to your business. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the winter holidays drive a huge percentage of retail sales. The holiday season alone brings in nearly 20% of annual sales, with some industries bringing in even more during this time. But that doesn’t mean you pack it in for the rest of the year.

There are plenty of other occasions throughout the year that you can use to drive sales — from Hallmark holidays to the new product releases and milestones unique to your business, not to mention the everyday interactions that form the foundation of your business.

Here are some tips for finding music to match major retail events over the course of the year.


Stick with the classics during major holidays

Major seasonal celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and the lead-up to New Year’s can be incredibly lucrative for your business. And as you well know, they’re also incredibly busy. But in terms of the music, these holidays couldn’t be simpler: play the classics.

Shoppers love the nostalgia of searching for gifts to a backdrop of festive lights, decorations, and cheerful ballads. Playing the right mix of holiday music will bring back those fond childhood memories and motivate your customers to find that perfect gift to create new ones.

The best part? These tried-and-tested classics are about the song rather than the singer, so you can use independent or mainstream artists from commercially licensed streaming services to achieve the same effect as the original versions.


Don’t forget about those Hallmark holidays

The winter holidays naturally take up a lot of attention, but there are plenty of other events throughout the year that you can leverage to promote your business. Hallmark holidays like Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are key opportunities for specific retail niches like jewelry, electronics, and apparel.

A National Retail Federation survey projects Mother’s Day spending alone to reach over $35 billion this year — a $4 billion increase from 2022.

Capitalizing on these spending splurges can be as simple as finding a station that plays music centered around appreciating mothers, fathers, and significant others. It’s a simple addition to the atmosphere in your store that accentuates your decorations and promotional efforts to generate more business.


Build hype for new sales, products, and locations

You don’t need to rely on your calendar as a reminder to generate a buzz for your store. Building hype during the “off season” helps create a steadier flow of business, which is especially helpful for highly seasonal industries. Creating your own sale or retail event is the perfect way to do this.

Music can help you create an energized, exciting environment for events specific to your business — like store-specific sales, new product releases, and even the launch of a new location. Using upbeat, louder music during overstock sales or ribbon-cutting ceremonies helps gain customer attention and engage your staff.

With the right sound system and streaming capabilities, you can even coordinate your music across locations to create a truly seamless brand experience.


Use a catalog of music to keep your sound exciting year-round

The only thing worse than no music at all is listening to the same playlist over and over again. Not only does it get stale for any of your regulars, but repetitive music is also incredibly frustrating for the staff who have to hear it day in and day out. Energize your customers and set the stage for better employee interactions by introducing some variety into your retail sound.

People’s moods and interests change throughout the year, and so does their taste in music. Building flexibility and variety into your atmosphere with a large catalog of music helps you match the energy of the season. Plus, it’s an easy way to keep your atmosphere from becoming stagnant.


Match your brand sound to your retail vertical

In between all these seasonal sales and retail events, it’s important that you build up the foundation of your brand sound with music that fits your brand. Whether you speak to trendy retail shoppers with top hits or cocktail lounge diners with smooth jazz, establishing your background music within a particular genre helps establish a connection with specific customer bases.

To get the most return on your music investment, ensure the genre played in your store also aligns with the category of merchandise you sell.

Studies find that creating alignment between the background music and sentiments around the product category in a story can increase the willingness of customers to pay for those specific products. For instance, shoppers tend to spend more on luxury products like jewelry, sunglasses, or high-end electronics when classical music plays in the background.

Between all the playlists for holidays, sales, and seasonal events, it’s important to consistently bring things back to your brand sound.

A photo of two people looking at a tablet device and holding a discussion in a retail store with bicycles hanging on a wall in the background

Find the perfect retail store playlist with Sonos Pro

Now you know how to create the perfect background sound for any and all retail events throughout the year — all that’s left is to find the right music streaming service.

Sonos Pro is a comprehensive sound solution for your business that offers a catalog of commercially licensed music to retailers, restaurateurs, and other business owners. It includes music that can be played worry-free in any retail environment.

With the Sonos Backgrounds Premium Tier, you get access to music from mainstream and independent artists, plus the following benefits:

  • Ad-free stations to provide a seamless background sound
  • Choose from hundreds of different programs to keep your music fresh
  • Music categorized by business type and season to easily match the mood
  • Filtering of explicit content and themes to ensure music is appropriate for everyone
  • Pre-scheduling features that let your employees focus on providing amazing service
  • A secure system that restricts access to anyone except admins

Sonos Backgrounds also has an Essential Tier, which includes access to a variety of stations and music from independent artists.

Sonos Backgrounds is a part of the comprehensive Sonos Pro sound solution that includes stereo-quality speakers and a central dashboard that lets you monitor and manage the system from anywhere.

Whether you’re gearing up for the holiday season, opening a new location, or just keeping your brand sound exciting, retail playlists are critical to your store’s success. With Sonos Backgrounds, you can easily find the best music for every retail event.

Learn how Sonos Pro provides retailers and other business owners with the perfect sound for any environment.

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