As the clock strikes six in the morning, grocery stores around Kainuu start to get going. Goods are brought in and products shelved. The pace is quick, because everything needs to be ready when the first customers come in. In addition to local residents, the Kainuu region sees plenty of travelers, for whom different retailers are an important window to life in the region.
In Osuuskauppa Maakunta stores, the mornings are paced by background music that has been carefully chosen according to employee opinion. This is why the music in the mornings is usually rhythmic and upbeat – the kind that lets you keep up the pace and get a good feeling for the day ahead.
– Mornings can be really intense. Between six and eight, we play what we call unloading music to give rhythm to what we do. As the doors open at eight, we switch over to calmer music. This is based on establishment wishes and has resulted in good staff feedback, says Osuuskauppa Maakunta Retail Director Arto Mustonen.
Mustonen is responsible for the Prisma, S-market, Sale, ABC, and Sokos establishments of the co-operative retailer Osuuskauppa Maakunta. For the last two years, Osuuskauppa Maakunta has invested in the more systematic use of familiar background music.
– Here in Kainuu, we are honest folk who do not need to put any extra cream on our cake, but using music has certainly been a good project for us, says Mustonen firmly.
Music sets the pace for making strategic entries
The use of music at Osuuskauppa Maakunta is based in long-term experiences of what works and what does not. Five years ago, Osuuskauppa Maakunta stores tried playing so-called elevator music, meaning unknown background audio that is not played on the radio for example. Feedback from customers and staff however made them soon return to better known music.
– We reviewed our costs very thoroughly five years ago and decided that known background music was one thing to save on. Fairly soon both customers and staff started saying that the elevator music is making them bored. The music quite simply has no feeling or soul, says Mustonen of the feedback.
The elevator music experiment was short-lived.
– It is our philosophy to react to feedback when it is provided. We decided to get back to playing known music. Compared to the gained benefits, the costs of using known music are quite reasonable.
The Osuuskauppa Maakunta strategy emphasizes the customer experience and staff satisfaction. Music is an important tool when such things are more than just words on paper. – We have actual results about how music plays a part in improving both customer satisfaction and staff well-being, says Mustonen.
Similarly, a study conducted by GT Musiikkiluvat and TNS Kantar has shown that musical selections have a huge impact on building a consistent brand and reinforcing the customer experience.
“The playlist has clearly been changed”
When Osuuskauppa Maakunta returned to known music in early 2020, they wanted to do it properly right from the outset. Osuuskauppa Maakunta is involved in a pilot project with Audience First, who provides the correct playlists for different stores.
– The playlists need to be refreshed and sufficiently diverse. When employees work long shifts and some customers come in more than once, there has to be a lot of playable material, Mustonen states.
– Competent help in the making of the playlists has been useful. Our core competence is retailing, so we can focus on that when we do not have to worry about making playlists. When the elevator music was replaced with known music lists, both customers and the staff started saying that the playlist has clearly been changed, Mustonen smiles.
Known music is being played in all Osuuskauppa Maakunta retail stores in the Kainuu region, meaning that the playlists need to account for not only the different establishments but different seasons, times of day, and customer groups as well.
– We review our customer profiles by each establishment separately. We know for example that Prisma stores are frequented by families in particular. We have plenty of aged customers in the mornings, and Saturdays and Sundays are good days for making utilitarian goods sales. At Sokos stores on the other hand, women are an important target group. These are factors that we want to consider when playing music, Mustonen says.
Changing seasons also influence the musical selections.
– In the spring we want our playlists to reflect the sense that we are heading into summer. In practice, this means that the music should be fresh and happy. Adjusting playlists according to customer groups and the seasons is important work that we are only getting started with.
Mustonen has gained plenty of experience over the years about ways of using music and the partnerships relating to it.
– I am happy with our partnership with Musiikkiluvat now. We maintain regular contact, and the deal is not only based on taking care of royalties. Moreover, as we have been able to commit our in-house staff to using music, I have to say I am proud of the results we have achieved.
Would you like to know more about how to use music in retail environments or start a pilot project for using known music at your establishment? Get in touch and we will be happy to let you know more:
You can purchase a Background music in customer premises here.