Cue the In-Store Music for Faster-Seeming Queues

Cue the In-Store Music for Faster-Seeming Queues

Think back to the times you had to wait in line in various situations: at a dental clinic, a notary office, or a crowded clothing store. How did you feel while you waited for your turn to be served?

The atmosphere in each setting most likely had an effect on your overall state: you were either calmer in one setting than the other, or you felt like time couldn't pass any slower. In some cases, you may have enjoyed the cosy décor and carefully curated in-store music so much that you made a mental note to return in the future.

Truth be told, we are influenced by our surroundings more than we realise. And music is a powerful, albeit underestimated, design element. Choosing the best waiting room music can make all the difference in converting a new visitor into a loyal customer.

If you own a business that serves your community, why not tap into the potential of good sound design for your waiting room or queue area to make an excellent first impression on your customers?

Tips for Playing Background Music for Businesses in Retail, Hospitality, and Healthcare

When discussing queues, two concepts should be taken into account: actual and perceived wait time.

The actual wait time is the precise amount of time spent waiting, whereas the perceived wait time is how long the duration feels to a customer. Even when wait times are reasonably short, customers can become bored and frustrated if they find themselves in an unpleasant or unstimulating environment.

Technology to Reduce Perceived Wait Time in Queues

Nowadays, due to living a ‘fast-forward’ life, people are less and less patient in queue situations. However, technology can greatly assist in relieving stress while waiting in line. Companies can make use of the idle time to improve their customers’ experience, connect with them, or provide a new service:

  • Virtual queuing – it is a feature that many retail and hospitality venues have in place, allowing customers to reserve a spot in a queue and arrive at the location at the scheduled time;
  • Interactive digital signage can provide clients with useful information and entertainment;
  • Apps to help pass the time and connect consumers to brands – for example, Storeplay Connect allows customers to play their favourite songs from your store’s playlist while staying up-to-date on special offers.

Furthermore, if you want to make wait times feel shorter for your customers, waiting room music will surely do the trick.

In-store Music Considerations

Several studies on waiting room music in clinics showed that more than 80 per cent of patients felt more relaxed (compared to sitting in complete silence), especially when classical music was played.

Apart from music choice, another important factor to consider when playing music in stores, clinics, or offices, is the volume. As shown in the study above, music that is too loud can have a negative effect — it can even damage your hearing.

Are Sad Songs the Best Waiting Room Music to Play? What New Research Tells Us

In her book, Bittersweet, best-selling nonfiction author Susan Cain emphasises the current research on sad music. She reveals that sad melodies promote homeostasis — which occurs when the body achieves a relatively stable internal environment.

Furthermore, studies show that infants in intensive care units who listen to lullabies (which are often sorrowful) are stronger than infants hearing other types of music. According to researchers Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, and Assal Habibi, happy music has fewer psychological benefits than sad music.

Another interesting fact presented in “Bittersweet” is that, while C Major is one of the most common keys in popular music, the trend has started to shift since the 1960s. Today, popular artists are writing in the minor keys much more often. Approximately 60 per cent of pop songs today are in the keys of ‘joyous melancholy’.

What does this mean for businesses — should we all play sad in-store music?

Not at all. There are no absolutes when it comes to music choice. It depends on many factors like customer profile, trends, and most importantly, brand alignment. Besides, the key in which a song is written does not necessarily dictate its mood.

Having said that, you might want to include at least some melodies written in the minor key in your repertoire. The subtle therapeutic effects are well worth it to boost your customers’ moods, especially when waiting in line.

Song examples can include:

  • Happy Together - The Turtles
  • Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
  • Sweet & Dandy - Tash Sultana
  • Bills, Bills, Bills - Destiny’s Child

These songs and thousands more examples of background music for businesses can be found in our in-store music catalogue, which you can access by subscribing to Storeplay Radio.

The Legal Requirements for Playing Background Music for Businesses

As music programmers, we respect the artists’ talent and hard work. That is why we advise business professionals to only use compliant music sources in their venues.

In Australia, playing in-store music is more complicated than simply streaming Spotify through your speakers. Public performances, as opposed to listening to music at home, require a fee. In order to provide your guests with a variety of songs they enjoy, you would typically need a background music licence from One Music.

Alternatively, you can pay for partial rights with certain music choices or, if you are on a tight budget, perhaps royalty-free music would be more suitable. At Storeplay Radio, we can manage any type of system and curate the best waiting room music based on your company's specific needs.

Sign Up for Storeplay Radio's Free Trial Today

Despite the busy and stressful times we live in, there is no doubt that waiting room music can elevate a customer's experience by making them feel more calm and patient.

If you are ready to incorporate in-store music into the design of your retail store, office, or clinic but don't know where to begin — or if the background music licence options seem too complicated — we are here to help.

Contact us today to learn how you can enroll in our free trial and see how the best waiting room music can make your customers feel at home.