Taste in Music

Here is an interesting story from today's New York Times – (click here for the link)

Nordstrom's – the upscale department store – will be carrying a select group of Compact Disk recordings of artists whose music reflects the style of their stores and customer's taste.  On reflection, this really should not be a surprise.  For many years, Nordstom's has employed pianists to perform on fine pianos in their stores to enhance the shopping experience for their customers.  And our choices in music reflect our personal style and taste more than any other indicator.

However, the point that I want to make – to my music industry colleagues – is that we must sell our products where potential customers are likely to gather.  We can not wait for them to come to our stores.  We must be present – and available – for them when they are in the mood to shop.  Be it on the Internet, or at casual gatherings or at entertainment venues.  If you are going to capture a portion of the discretionary dollars, you must first capture a portion of their mind.

Nordstrom's – along with Whole Foods Markets, Target and Starbucks, etc. – are not selling products per se.  They are selling a lifestyle.  Music retailers, if they want to succeed, must understand this concept and grab its potential.

As the NY Times articles states, Nordstom's is not planning to carry a full line of music CD's in their stores.  But a market that they long ago ceded to specialty stores like Tower Records (now in bankruptcy) is emerging for customers who visit their stores.  In typical fashion for a merchant who understands their customers, they will have listening kiosks in the music department and they will also place the music CD's at selected points throughout the store to take advantage of cross-selling opportunities.

Personally, I now realize that just in the last 12 months I have purchased music CD's in Starbucks (Ray Charles, Sergio Mendez), Target (Tony Bennett) and Whole Foods (Chris Botti.)  Could I have waited and purchased these CD's at a later date at a music store.  Yes.  But, the point is, I didn't want to wait – and risk the chance that the store would not have the selection in stock; or that I would forget that this artist's CD had grabbed my interest.  The music CD grabbed my attention at that point, and I put it into my cart – AND… I paid full retail price for each of these CD's.

There is a lesson in all of this.  Understand your customers and you will gain the opportunity to grow your business.

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