By: Martin M. Pegler
Imagine it is almost Christmas and the store is filled with happy holiday shoppers. Do I hear music playing? YES!! And probably the music in retail stores is music of the season—like “White Christmas”—or “I’ll be Home For Christmas” or maybe even some Christmas carols. Why the music and why these familiar melodies? Because music “soothes the soul,” is “the language of love” and “tames the savage beast.” But, most of all—it is familiar, friendly, welcoming and just so pleasant on the ears and the mind.
Now—let’s play a game. What songs do you think of when I say “spring,” “summer” or “fall”? How about “Easter,” ”Mother’s Day,” “Father’s Day,” patriotic events? No matter where your store is located—what country, what culture—you will have a song or a tune for most any occasion or promotion you are planning to boost your brand and your product lines. And that is what this is all about!!!
Music may be “the speech of angels” and “the universal language,” but it may also be a great source of attention-getting window displays as you are about to see. We turn to Tommy Aitchison, regional visual merchandising manager of Bentalls in the UK to explain. It seems he has had the idea gestating for a while—how to use songs or the lyrics of popular tunes to create promotional displays to add music in retail stores. People may not know all the lyrics but will recognize the song and remember it. Aitchison wanted a device where he could show a variety of products in dimension on a flat or two-dimensional surface. The music sheet concept was also the perfect solution with the small products applied as “notes” over the printed words of the song.
The images shown here were photographed by Charlie Macdonald, and the music cues are as follows: “If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake” for bakeware and “Hey good lookin’—what’s cookin’” for cooking needs. In addition, there was “Heart of glass” for glassware, “China in my hand” for tableware, “I’ll sit right down and write myself a letter” as a way to feature stationary and “Candle in the wind” for assorted candles and air fresheners.
The black on white music sheet was carried through from window to window and made the whole promotion that much more effective. I don’t know if they did or not, but playing recordings of these old timers inside the store would have added a great nostalgic touch to the whole scheme. Would it have been too much if the music was piped out into the street, like some stores do at Christmas time, for added emphasis? The promotion was very effective and successful. You couldn’t wish for more than happy and smiling customers who are humming golden oldies—and buying!
Think music in retail as a source for sales; “Falling Leaves” for falling prices. Think of “The Last Time I Saw Paris” for French imports, any one or more of Italianate songs for an Italian festival and so many other songs with foreign or exotic settings for special import events. Even if your shoppers don’t recognize the words or even the tunes, they will respond to the pleasurable sounds and visual delights you have prepared for them. After all, as Shakespeare wrote, “If music be the food of love—play on,” therefore nourish your customers with good products, well presented and with music to remember.