Dayparting 101: How to adapt your instore music during the day

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One of the advantages of working with professional suppliers of instore music is that they can usually schedule different music for different times of the day, week or even year. Let’s look at what this means for your business and how you could make the most of this simple bit of technology.

The most common application of this „dayparting” is to adjust the intensity of the music to the crowdedness in the shop. Typically, more laidback music will be played when the store is quiet and heavier (faster/louder) music is inserted during the peak business hours to drown out the higher atmospheric sound levels. This is pretty much standard issue with most instore music suppliers.

Let me point out straight away: this setup will cost you business.

Eroglu, Machleit & Chebat (2005) showed that shops will perform best when crowd density and music tempo are inversely proportional. This makes perfect sense. Increasing auditive input when the store is quiet makes it feel less empty and hostile, and therefore more attractive. When the shop is full of people, there is more than enough sensorial load and adding even more will only serve to raise stress levels. In other words, your typical music dayparting is counter productive. Turn it around and you will find the music supports your business much better.

Another way to use dayparting is by adjusting the music genre during the day or week. This is quite common in fashion stores. Friday nights and saturdays will typically see more party music being played to trigger associations with going out in your new outfit. I have not yet encountered any studies proving or disproving the validity of this approach.

Depending on the industry you are in, you might have a certain variance in your target audience during the day or week. Supermarkets, for instance, will draw a completely different crowd at 11 in the morning as opposed to 7 in the evening. If the variance is of such magnitude, it might be worth adapting your background music accordingly.

Last but not least, you can implement seasonal changes. Some examples of reasons for musical change: new collections, indoor/outdoor seasons and, ofcourse, the holidays. Adjusting your music can help keep things fresh and up to date. Always keep a sharp eye on your core music strategy though. Make sure all variations you make still exude your brand identity and support your commercial goals.

Thomas van Straaten
Instore media consultant

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