Music on mobile shopping apps drives sales for retailers

Discussion
Dec 15, 2015

There are some parts of the in-store shopping experience that e-commerce just hasn’t been able to replicate. One of those features is treating customers to an instrumental version of The Girl From Ipanema over the public address system. But according to a CNBC article, mobile shopping is having its "Muzak moment." The addition of streaming music to shopping apps has added a new aspect to mobile shopping and, perhaps surprisingly, it has been keeping people shopping longer.

CNBC reported that American Eagle Outfitters added a streaming music service to its app in July. According to American Eagle, customers who listened to music stayed in the app for more than triple the amount of time other customers did. The number of users who returned to the app within a month doubled. The American Eagle streaming service is provided by Feed.fm.

AEO music app

Source: American Eagle Outfitters app

According to the article, Feed.fm is in talks with around 40 other retailers about setting up differing configurations of streaming music. Feed.fm already contracts with brands like Bud Light and smaller companies to provide streaming services in different ways. Feed.fm is also working on integrating with Instagram, combining streaming music with shopping via social media.

American Eagle’s in-app music stream allows shoppers to rate the music that is playing with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. As with other music streaming services, this rating informs the music that comes next, adding a personalized touch to the playlist.

The success of such apps highlights the difference between e-commerce shopping via website and mobile. Music on websites, including e-commerce websites, is sometimes treated as an interruption by those browsing. It seems, however, to amplify the mobile experience and measurably push conversions.

With statistics indicating such a relationship between in-app music and increased engagement, it raises the question: will streaming services themselves set their sights on selling?

How likely is it that streaming music will become a common part of the mobile shopping experience? How can in-app music be used to further enhance online shopping experiences?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"An important question: who is the target audience? Target audience will vary greatly by retailer. Yes, the music service can be customized by retailer, but what about a mass merchant with wide appeal?"
"Grocery companies figured out long ago that music can make tedious tasks tolerable. Putting music on apps — and especially giving customers a choice of which channel to listen to — would be a really smart move, at little expense."

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7 Comments on "Music on mobile shopping apps drives sales for retailers"


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Chris Petersen, PhD
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

An important question: who is the target audience?

Target audience will vary greatly by retailer. Yes, the music service can be customized by retailer, but what about a mass merchant with wide appeal? What genre of music would be appealing on a Target or Walmart app — or even Amazon for that matter?

And then there is the next generation of core customers who are smartphone addicts, the Millennials. Millennials are notorious multitaskers. They probably already have earbuds in listening to their own music … will they really want to be interrupted by app music while phone shopping?

You never know until you test and measure! And app music is highly measurable in terms of how it impacts visits, time on-site, stickiness and ultimately sales. Why not test it, but make sure to also track all of the situational and demographic variables.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Music and sound in general has always been an overlooked and often abused human sense in the development and execution of the shopping experience. Music streaming in concert with the shopper’s mobile device is a great use of both for the benefit of the shopper. Streaming music is the largest demand by far on a store’s Wi-Fi! Pandora was accessed by over 95 percent of Target shoppers while Target’s own app was accessed by less than 1 percent! That is why it makes a lot of sense (cents!?) to leverage music as a key element in the in-store shopping journey.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Grocery companies figured out long ago that music can make tedious tasks tolerable. Putting music on apps — and especially giving customers a choice of which channel to listen to — would be a really smart move, at little expense. Not only that, enabling choice would give retailers an idea of which music genomes suit which customers.

Lee Kent
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

For some categories of retail, this will surely take off. Others, like say Home Depot, that may require more thought and less emotion, not so much.

If retailers can tell more about their customers based on the music they listen to, more power to them. Great idea!

Gordon Arnold
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

For the consumer that is ordering during work hours while on duty, this will be a problem. Likewise, those on the phone at the same time as using the App with a decision maker or influential participant will find this makes things difficult and distracting. And for whoever is seeking direct store associate assistance, it will be an unrelenting annoyance at best. What we may be left with is a good idea with little or no practical purpose, appreciation or acceptance.

Naomi K. Shapiro
Guest
Naomi K. Shapiro
6 years 5 months ago

If it keeps people shopping longer — and brings them back — bring it on!

Karen McNeely
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

I really didn’t understand this until I got to the part where you can rate the music and then it made sense. Now if they could just adapt that technology for hold music!

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"An important question: who is the target audience? Target audience will vary greatly by retailer. Yes, the music service can be customized by retailer, but what about a mass merchant with wide appeal?"
"Grocery companies figured out long ago that music can make tedious tasks tolerable. Putting music on apps — and especially giving customers a choice of which channel to listen to — would be a really smart move, at little expense."

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