By Ola Sars, CEO of Soundtrack Your Brand
Automakers continue innovating, offering new vehicle makes and models with upgraded technology and safety features. The challenge for dealers is car shoppers have what sometimes feels like similar options available from different brands. A recent J.D. Power Automotive Brand Loyalty study found more car buyers are foregoing loyalty to drive something new, meaning dealers need to differentiate their business and showroom experience. Selecting and playing the right overhead music is an effective way to do this. Chances are, you’re already playing music, it may just be the time to rethink how to leverage music that can create an enhanced buying experience.
The auto industry pays great attention and detail to in-car audio systems and the music selected in auto ads because they understand the emotional connection and experience between music and cars. Not leveraging that same impact and approach in auto dealer showrooms can be an important missed opportunity. Following are some tips to ensure you’re leveraging your overhead music to create the ultimate customer and sales experience.
Define Your Music Identity
There’s no question that the showroom experience at a Mercedes dealership will be different than going to a Subaru dealership. These two brand examples have clear brand identities that demonstrate different core values and convey different messages to shoppers with their advertising, product design and showroom layout. Defining the experience you want them to have and ensuring it aligns with their expectations is part of determining the right background music to play.
For example, if you sell high-end luxury vehicles, curated playlists of ambient, classical, jazz or instrumental music are the way to go. Customers may be put off by hearing a fast-paced AC/DC track, not because the music isn’t great but because it doesn’t match their expectations of what ads and branding have conditioned them to believe luxury sounds like. Brand-fit music is intricately connected to the in-store experience and overall customer satisfaction and impacts everything from your brand image to your sales, revenue and growth.
Music Licensing and Legal Considerations
When playing music in your dealership, you must comply with music licensing and copyright laws. Consumer streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and others are designed for personal use and cannot legally be used in business settings. Look for a music streaming service that’s designed specifically for commercial use — and offers the appropriate licensing — so you can legally entertain your customers and staff while protecting your establishment from copyright infringement penalties or lawsuits.
Experiment and Keep Refining Your Playlist
Music can influence buying behavior through subtle, subliminal messages. Have fun and experiment with how the different musical selections in your showroom impact customer satisfaction and sales. With all things being equal, like the same welcoming staff, amenities and showroom appearance, observe how shifts in your musical selections encourage your customers to stay longer and buy more.
Be sure you have access to a large catalog so that your music is updated regularly to keep it fresh. Music can quickly feel repetitive, especially for staff. Leading B2B streaming technology that’s licensed for commercial use is a low-cost investment offering on-demand, ready-made playlists and taking the guesswork out of managing your music.
Power of Controlled Messaging
Hearing other auto dealers’ commercials by playing the radio in your showroom is a risk. Not to mention that a string of ads ruins the vibe. Leveraging a music streaming service with well-timed, controlled messaging options to help upsell services and accessories is best practice.
In summary, while playing background music is standard practice in many of today’s auto dealerships, it’s important to play the right music to fit your brand, target buyers and that’s licensed for commercial use. Remember to stream music in customer lounges and service areas, to help increase sales, as Americans are holding onto cars longer than ever, with the average age of passenger vehicles on the road reaching 12.5 years. Inspiring them to return to your dealership for routine service and maintenance will generate additional revenue until the time is right to get them into a new car. ■
Ola Sars is the CEO, founder and chairman of Soundtrack Your Brand, the world’s fastest-growing music platform for businesses. By combining expert curation and world-class technology, Soundtrack Your Brand provides an all-in-one solution for streaming music that’s properly licensed for automotive dealers, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, cafés and other commercial settings.