Holiday shoppers

As the trend for online shopping continues to rise, PPL has conducted research into the travel sector to understand how playing in-store music can help to enhance the overall customer experience, as well as influencing purchasing behaviour, staff productivity and sales.

A nationwide poll of over 2,000 staff and customers of a leading high street travel brand were conducted, revealing some interesting results:

• An incredible 99% of staff agreed that customers would be happier if music was played in-store.
• 98% felt that music would encourage them to be more productive, motivated and lifted the mood of all staff members at work.
• Regarding retail stores in general, 99% of staff also said they think stores that play music tend to be more modern and appealing places to shop.

From a customer perspective:

• 66% agreed that music can remove any awkward silences when shopping for a holiday
• 76% admitted they felt more relaxed shopping in retail stores that play in-store music.
• 54% even went as far as to say that shopping in a store that plays music would put them in a holiday mood and increase their likeliness of purchasing a holiday vs a store that does not play music.

The value and appreciation for original artist music was also made clear – with 88% of staff surveyed stating that they would prefer to work in stores playing recorded music by recognisable performers.

In tune with these results, PPL spoke to Michael Clark, Managing Director, Imagesound, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of background music, who said: “These days people expect to hear great music wherever they go and over the years it has become an integral component of the retail mix. How you create an experience is a real art form, understanding the way in which a combination of music and lyrics can help to reflect a range of emotions, behaviours and needs for both staff and customers – two completely distinct groups. Creating a positive atmosphere for staff through shifts in music tempos throughout the working day, as well as allowing for any personalised staff orientated playlists during pre-opening and closing hours, amongst other things, can really help to enhance job satisfaction and motivation. Equally, in an age where more and more shoppers are turning to the internet, you need to create a bit of retail theatre to inspire those all-important purchases. As this research shows, getting that balance right can provide a brand with a real differentiator in a competitive marketplace.”

Separate to this research study, PPL spoke to STA Travel about the impact of music to staff and customers in their stores. Laurence Bresh, Marketing Director at STA Travel said: "We find having music playing in our stores creates a relaxed and informal environment for both customers and staff. We are the world's leading student and youth travel company and are here to help young people start their adventure. Having a range of music playing in our 50 UK stores creates a great atmosphere to allow time to chat to our travel experts and ensure our customers have all the tools necessary to create their ideal itinerary."

Watch the video below to hear more customers interviewed as part of this research – discussing everything from how they feel in a shop that isn’t playing music to how the various genres and artists can help to put them in the mood for a holiday when played in-store!

Latest Music Works research findings

  • 76%

    of customers in travel agents that play music agree that they feel more relaxed shopping 2

  • 51%

    of customers in travel agents that play music agree that they spend more time browsing 2

  • 66%

    of customers in travel agents that play music agree that music removes any awkward silences while shopping for a holiday 2

  • 53%

    of customers that visited a travel agents that played music felt that it would be a less welcoming place to shop without music 2

  • 88%

    of staff who work in stores with music would prefer to listen to music by recognisable performers rather than sound-alikes 3

  • 99%

    of staff who work in travel agencies without music say that playing music in store would create a better working atmosphere for staff 3

  • 97%

    of staff who work in travel agencies without music say that playing music in store would make them more productive while working compared to no music being played 3

  • 98%

    of staff who work in travel agencies without music agree that playing music agree that playing music would make them feel more motivated while working. The same number agree that playing music in store would improve staff mood 3

  • 99%

    of staff who work in travel agencies without music agree that they think customers would be happier if music was played in store 3

  • 93%

    of staff who work in travel agencies with music agree that if the music was turned off, they would ask their manager to turn it back on 3

  • 97%

    of staff who work in travel agencies with music would recommend that all the retail stores play instore music 3

1 Research was conducted by VisionCritical in April 2012 among 1,000 UK businesses and Entertainment Media Research in 2009 among 2,000 UK consumers. EMR also conducted the research in 2010 among 400 small retailers, hairdressers, offices and factories.

2 Research was conducted by RED in May 2013 with 676 customers of a UK travel company (x331 interviewed at stores that play music, x306 interviewed at stores that do not play music.)

3 Research was conducted by RED in May 2013 with 1397 staff of of a UK travel company (x1042 surveys completed by staff at stores that play music, x337 surveys completed by staff at stores that do not play music.)

4 Research was conducted by DJS Research in June 2013 among 600 businesses in the West Midlands

5 Source: YouGov Plc. online survey, April 2014. Total sample size: 7492 GB adults aged 18+. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults.

6 Research was conducted by Mindlab International in September 2014. (The research tested 26 participants carrying out office-based tasks while listening to four genres of music, and no music).

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