Music has been used for decades in retail to create a connection with customers however music is not widely used in ecommerce. Music is part of consumer science to create an environment in which the customer wants to spend time in the shop and then based on the emotional connection it will then lead the consumer spend money in that specific shop. When I worked for an ecommerce business one of the most important beliefs that must be made known to team members is the importance of a conversion. Whether it be the putting the item in the cart, clicking on a button to create revenue – nothing must stop that from occurring. A San Francisco based startup, Feed.fm is using music to help brands connect with their customers via emotional connections.

Why music has not been seen inside ecommerce

When researching for my conversation with Jeff Yasuda, the CEO of Feed.fm, the impact that music has on conversions was consistently on my thoughts. Needless to say it was immediately dispelled and described as a myth.

Music has been a part of advertising (TV and radio ads)  and retail for decades, yet when I look at ecommerce it is not widely seen. The movement to ecommerce and digital retail has been blocked by 3 factors according to Jeff:

  1. Licensing costs for music is high.
  2. Legal complexity – it takes a long time to legally be able to use music in a commercial environment. Lawyers who specialise in music rights are expensive and difficult to find.
  3. Finding the right music – everyone thinks they are a DJ and thus finding music can be emotive and not based on any relevant data.

Businesses also have a challenge in that they have to be able to connect with millennials and Generation Z who are interacting with brands mostly on mobile devices.

The fine line

There is a fine line between discovery and curation that is required for music to be relevant in a commercial environment. We have all had to listen to someone else’s music on a roadtrip that has little or no correlation to your own taste.

Feed.fm uses analytics from the moment a customer starts listening to a piece of music until he/she either goes to a new track or ends listening. To aggregate this for a brand that has a large base of customers is a huge engineering undertaking and also provides Feed.fm with the challenge of more opportunity to play music that is not relevant to a customer. By tracking on an individual level Feed.fm is able to provide brands with a selection of music that will be powerful for their specific purpose (engagement or a conversion).

Using music has a potential to create a more powerful connection with a customer than most other mediums. The connection is so heavily influenced by nuances it is vital for Feed.fm to learn from cues.

Jeff shared a very interesting example from a campaign they did with a well known fitness brand. Initially the brand wanted between 5-7 stations for different genres to accommodate their large customer base. However, the large selection was not properly utilized by customers and thus based on data they advised the brand to only have 1 or 2 stations. Less is more and thus the limited selection lead to more customers listening to music while exercising.

Feed.fm – The platform question

I wanted to know whether a particular platform (mobile or desktop) influenced a business. Most usage of Feed.fm is being seen on mobile (which makes sense) while little usage is being seen on the desktop.

Jeff mentioned that music provides Feed.fm with a unique situation. As music is platform agnostic it boils down to the messaging by the partner/brand to ensure a consistent experience. In a commerce experience this makes total sense as with omnichannel commerce the more consistent the experience the less thinking the customer has to do for brand interaction. It provides an avenue for a touchpoint – whether it is an announcement / information regarding an updated app for example or it could be a coupon that is only shared via a music channel. The consistency in messaging also provides the customer with comfort which in most cases leads to an action (purchase, conversation with a retail associate / salesperson).

Brands are learning that decile analysis is becoming more important and thus the above mentioned comfort that is created via similar sounds leads to super serving the top spending clients. I believe that this is an avenue that ecommerce is still learning to take advantage of based on my personal experience.

I found the entire conversation with Jeff Yasuda fascinating and believe that the innovative mobile commerce brands will start looking for methods to generate more revenue from their top customers. Feed.fm is a business to keep an eye on as I believe that they are helping brands delight their customers.