A customer walks into your store focused only on buying a pair of slacks. An upbeat voice, booming over the speakers, informs them that men’s shoes are currently on discount. “Guess what?” They think to themselves. “I could use new shoes for my birthday.”

As they stride through the aisle the announcement slowly transitions to lounge-style music that's calming and relaxing.

And as they wait for their turn at the checkout counter, they hear about the membership discounts and how they can sign up at the customer support desk in less than 1 minute.

In-store radio also known as retail radio and store radio is one of the best ways to elevate the customer's experience at your business premises.

It adds a sense of atmosphere and liveliness and doubles up as a powerful sensory marketing tool that can boost sales, increase brand awareness and improve customer loyalty.

Are you interested in creating an in-store radio and wondering if it is suitable for what you do? You don't have to be a retail store to create one. Just assess if your customers spend considerable time at your business premises interacting with products, waiting in line, or enjoying a meal.

What is an in-store radio station?

In-store radio stations have been used for decades to keep retail spaces entertaining and engaging. Playing curated music, audio messaging, and interactive sound elements allows retailers to create a unique shopping experience for their customers that cannot be easily achieved with traditional radio or streaming services. It also serves as a powerful tool for boosting sales through track sequencing, program scheduling, strategic advertising, and other marketing strategies.

Who is it for?

Some businesses that employ the concept include

  • Hotels and resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores
  • Retail
  • Garage and car dealerships
  • Hair & beauty salons
  • Gyms
  • Amusement parks

But it can complement other locations where customers spend some time within the premises checking out products, receiving services, or waiting in line.

Benefits of creating an in-store radio station

You can get the following benefits by having a customized radio for your brand:

1. Creates a pleasant shopping environment

By playing an appealing selection of music, the in-store radio station can create a relaxed environment where customers feel welcome while they make their purchases. ### 2. More dwell time Music has been proven to influence the perception of customers when in a retail environment, resulting in increased dwell time. This gives store owners an ideal opportunity to engage with customers and sell more items.

3. No ads from competitors

In-store radio doesn’t have ads from competitors, allowing your business to optimize its marketing messages without competing for attention or going to great lengths to stand out.

In an age where customers are constantly bombarded with ads. Exposing customers to your own messaging alone gives you a precious avenue to build brand loyalty and trust.

4. Sharing info on deals and updates

An in-store radio is an effective way for businesses to communicate upcoming deals, seasonal promotions, and discounts. It ensures that customers know about any important information coming from the store. This can make buying items at the store much more pleasant and convenient.

5. Controlling the narrative

In-store radio allows you to control the narrative, as you precisely control the content of the broadcast.

You can opt for messages that help engage, educate, and inform your customers. It’s entirely possible to create a unique listening experience incorporating ideas that would not see the light of day on a normal radio, for instance, airing customer interviews.

From playing familiar songs to newly discovered music, the customizable options available through an in-store radio are unmatched!

6. Building brand loyalty

With an in-store radio, businesses can provide up-to-date information on membership and loyalty programs and encourage shoppers who have not signed up to join.

Tailoring music and content to the customers’ individual preferences may help create a feeling of familiarity, comfort, and trust.

7. Can positively influence sales

An in-store radio can positively impact sales through strategic advertisements that inform customers of upcoming deals and offers.

Music selection similarly impacts the shoppers’ moods, buying behavior, and dwell time. Great music and messaging also influence the buyer’s perception of products and can evoke an emotional connection with the brand.

8. Differentiates your brand

On its own, music can be powerful. But as a part of an overall brand identity, it’s valuable in attracting and retaining customers. If you are looking to create a unique brand identity that stands out from the crowd, try using an in-store radio.

In-store Radio Stats & Facts

Considering whether an in-store radio is good for marketing and entertaining your customers? Well, here are a few stats to consider:

  • 63% of small retailers agree that music gets customers to stay longer at the store (Vibenomics)
  • 72% of music lovers view a store with music as more inviting (Vibenomics)
  • Tempo and pace can influence how fast customers go through the store. In fact, music can even make people eat faster or rush through stalls
  • 86% of shoppers say that music adds to the store’s atmosphere (Music Store)
  • 55% of Gen Z in the U.S. listen to AM/FM radio every day ( Nielsen Radio )
  • Sales increased in a store where the music was present (Business Music)

Two options for creating an in-store radio station

There are two main ways to go about it. Dozens of companies can create an in-store radio station for you with all the messaging and music safe for businesses. For a done-for-you approach, you will need to set aside a good budget.

Small businesses with budget constraints can go about the process by themselves. It's not too complicated or expensive.

1) How to create an in-store radio station by yourself

You don’t need a heavy capital outlay to create your store radio. With broadcasting software, a mic, and an internet connection, you can generate a radio station stream from the comfort of your office.

Step into the digital broadcast world today by creating your in-store radio station with these detailed steps:

Step 1: Have a vision and goal of what you want to build

Close your eyes and imagine what your radio will sound like before it exists. Hear the segments and the ads you’ll run. Imagine the atmosphere the station will generate.

Similarly, think practically of the goals you want the station to achieve. Are you looking to drive sales? Do you want to further your branding? Is your goal to increase sales on deals?

Step 2: Understand your customer's preferences

Survey who visits your store and at what time. Each audience segment will have varying tastes. For instance, the music selection may differ if you're serving Gen Zs vs baby boomers.

Step 3: Create a playlist

Give your playlist some thought, as that’s what people will be listening to. You want to keep the playlist dynamic with lots of items to ensure that you’re not repeating songs constantly. If there is too much repetition your regulars will easily spot it, and they can get turned off by it, just as they hate radio stations with the same songs in their playlist.

There are a few more pointers to follow when building your playlist:

  • Ensure the music is legal (Note that you may need a music license depending on where you live to play music to customers and even employees).
  • Match the hour and mood
  • Vary the tempo and pace based on the hour

Step 4: Produce in-store ads and messages

The content on your in-store radio should be a mix of songs and custom messages or shows produced specifically for your store. At times, you’ll also need to interrupt the broadcast to make store announcements over the PA system. You should also have custom jingles for your station.

Step 5: Set up your mini-studio

You’re creating an in-store station for your business, right? There is a need to establish a mini-studio. You don’t need anything fancy, such as a soundproof room.

The station can be equipped with a computer where you play out the content from radio broadcasting & scheduling software. You can get a USB mic connected to the computer that you can use to record new content such as announcements played in rotation with other content.

Get more tips:

Step 6: Setup an internet radio

There are only three components you need to create an internet radio.

First, you’ll need an encoder. It’s a program you install on your computer that captures audio input, encodes it, and sends it as data packets to a streaming server.

The streaming server is the second component. You get it from a radio hosting provider. Its main purpose is to distribute the stream to the user client.

On their side, they will need a player to play out the stream. Programs like Windows Media player or VLC can play out a stream, or the hosting provider may provide a browser-based player.

Step 7: Play the stream in your stores

The final step is setting up your sound system and playing your radio stream over your store’s airwaves. Your internet radio has the boundless potential to be heard anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection.

It can scale as you add the number of locations, and you only need to tinker with the content to make it personalized to each store.

2) Service providers offering in-store radio services

While this article advocates building your in-store radio, you may grow to the point that you may need a full-fledged service to handle all aspects of your in-store radio. Some of the top services that can manage a retail radio for you include:

Bottom Line

Creating an in-store radio gives you your radio station where you’re free to play your ads and music meant to enhance your store experience, earn more sales, and keep customers coming back.

You should take charge of what customers hear at your store, not wasting the opportunity to impact their lives and deliver your custom’s messages. It’s far more effective than paying for expensive ads.

We have discovered that you don’t need to spend lots of cash to run your station thanks to the emergence of internet radio and automated broadcasting software that can keep your songs in rotation.

Create your in-store radio on CloudRadio today, starting at just $2 per month!