Peter Smith is president of Memoire and author of two books, “Hiring Squirrels,” and “Sell Something.” Connect with Smith on LinkedIn or at dublinsmith@yahoo.com.
My wife Sherry and I went to see Frankie Valli in concert this past weekend.

The 84-year-old pop star was backed by an amazing nine-piece band and four “Jersey Boys,” and they wowed the 1,900-seat Chevalier Theater crowd in Medford, Massachusetts with great songs from his solo career and from the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons catalog. “Silence Is Golden” was one of the many songs we were treated to.

While it was an inspired choice for the rabid fans at the concert, silence is not golden in retail stores—especially not in jewelry stores. Music should be an absolute imperative in jewelry stores.

The positives of music have been well-documented in the social sciences, including decreased anxiety and improved moods. There have also been studies that have shown how music can increase impulse purchases and lead to higher average tickets.

Gretchen Rubin wrote in “The Happiness Project” that, “Music stimulates the parts of the brain that trigger happiness, and it can relax the body—in fact, studies show that listening to a patient’s choice of music during medical procedures can lower the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety level.”

While I won’t equate shopping in jewelry stores with medical procedures, one would be hard-pressed to argue that there isn’t stress involved in, for instance, shopping for an engagement ring.

If music helps to lower customers’ anxiety levels, why wouldn’t we have it in our stores?

In many respects, we should be looking at music as the soundtrack of our own stores and as an essential element in creating an environment that engages people emotionally.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to gauge your current musical offerings or to weigh in when selecting your store’s soundtrack.

1. The sound system should be of good quality.

My personal gauge is you should be able to clearly hear the lyrics and enjoy the song while maintaining your normal volume of conversation. Having to speak over music is not good, and music that is so low as not to be easily heard defeats the purpose.

Also, selecting a radio station and subjecting your customers to endless commercials is not advised (please see No. 3.)

2. The music should not be controversial (it should be about your customers, not your employees) and it should be upbeat.

The experts say the music you play should have a discernable beat, so while Frank Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours” might not be the best choice, “Fly Me to the Moon” and similar upbeat songs would be just fine.

Since there is no way to know the tastes of your entire customer base, a variety of genres might work best. But, again, death metal or explicit rap might not be the best choice.

3. Use only licensed music services.

Cloud Cover and Overhead.fm are two services that offer music for retail stores. Note that Pandora is OK only if you pay the fee to remove the advertising. That service has a built-in royalty component and covers you.

Services such as Spotify are not licensed to play commercially or in public. Music company BMI undertook a significant audit of stores in Florida a few years ago and fines up to $60,000 were levied against retailers who were using music services that did not cover the royalties for the artists and writers.

4. Whatever music and sound system you select, ensure there is no dead air.

I have often visited retail jewelry stores and found no music playing at all, despite the fact that there was a music service in place. Someone had forgotten to turn it on.

Own it the way you own turning on the lights or opening the door at the appointed time every day.

In his still-relevant book from 1999, “The Experience Economy,” Joe Pine wrote: “The sensory stimulants that accompany an experience should support and enhance its theme. The more effectively an experience engages the senses, the more memorable it will be.”

Songs from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons may or may not be the preferred soundtrack for your store, but there are worse things than having Frankie singing “Stay” or “Who Loves You” to your customers and prospects throughout the day.

Peter Smith is president of Memoire and author of two books, “Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent” and “Sell Something: Principles and Perspectives for Engaged Retail Salespeople.” Both books are available in print or Kindle at Amazon.com. Connect with Smith on LinkedIn or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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