Marks & Spencer Decide to Remove Instore Music. Why?
Pipe Down. When it goes quiet, what do you hear?
In-store music has a branding role, yes – but there’s something else being hidden by the playlists…
So, National Treasure Marks & Spencer is in the news again, this time it’s with in-store music – or rather a decision to revert to no music in clothing and home store areas (M&S food courts have never had music).
According to The Daily Telegraph: “The move is thought to be designed to please Marks and Spencer’s ageing customer base. “
In fact, for years, before 2006, M&S was viewed by some non-music fans like an oasis of “no-music”, so perhaps, that could explain why the recent decision was made?
But The Telegraph then goes on: “It follows concerted efforts by the brand to reduce the average age of its customers by attracting a younger clientele, such as hiring fashion icon and model, Alexa Chung, to design a summer fashion range.“
A paradox - the generational problem?
That doesn’t add up, does it?? This latest story seems to highlight a confused positioning – a paradox. In essence, this is where retailers can have a particular generational problem. Like, a Church or a Golf Club which has a certain respectable image, needs people to belong and stay, but it needs new, younger people, with fresh perspectives, to join too. What do you do?
An M&S spokeswoman seems to say all the right things, this time in The Guardian: “We’re focused on putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. This decision is the result of extensive research and feedback from our customers and colleagues.” (Press Association)
But surely the above mixed-message begs the question: If you’re trying to reduce the average age of your customer, is simply switching off the music for “Mrs M&S” really the best answer?
Another quote from The Guardian: “M&S first introduced in-store music in 2006 and is one of many businesses that have sparked anger from shoppers for their use of repetitive playlists.”(Press Association)
“Repetitive playlists”? Aha!