Back in the day, the local music shop was a place for aspiring and professional musicians to go to talk shop, get their gear repaired, and practice their scales. The music store still holds a special place in the hearts of musicians, but these days, people’s first contact with a store is more likely to be online than in-person.
While there are benefits to having an online presence, such as connecting to a geographically diverse customer base, there are some drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that it’s tricky to replicate the hands-on experience you get when visiting a local music store.
Whether you operate a brick-and-mortar shop with an online presence or are exclusively web-based, there are ways to build trust with customers.
1. Show, Don’t Just Tell
Part of the appeal of shopping in person at a music store is getting to touch and try out the instruments. A guitarist wants to feel a six-string in their hands. A pianist wants to feel the keys beneath their fingers.
While even the best VR programs can’t quite recreate the feeling of holding an instrument just yet, you can present your guitars, keyboards, and other gear online in a way that makes people feel like they’re checking it out themselves.
One option is to create short videos of a store employee introducing each instrument. The employee can point out the details that make that instrument unique. They can also play a short song or a series of chords or scales. After playing, they can provide a brief review, explaining how the instrument felt.
2. Offer Virtual Lessons
Many music stores have staff available to provide lessons to aspiring guitarists, pianists, and so on. The wonders of Zoom and other video conferencing programs mean that your customers no longer have to come into the store in person to learn to play.
Virtual lessons help you increase the size of your student population by making instruction available to anyone with an internet connection. They also help build trust by demonstrating to students that your team knows their stuff when it comes to music.
3. Share Your Story
In the age of Amazon and big-box stores, people who seek out a small music shop do so for a reason. They want to support a local business and build connections with a company they can trust.
Putting your story on your website helps shoppers feel like they know you know. Some details to include are:
- Why you started the store
- When you started the store
- Why you sell the products you do
- Any fun facts or musical trivia, such as details about famous musicians who have dropped by or that time you met Bob Dylan.
4. Simplify Repairs
Musicians don’t just visit music stores to buy new gear. They also go in to have their beloved equipment repaired. Creating a section for repairs on your website and giving people the option of scheduling repair appointments online helps build confidence in your shop. Sending reminder texts or emails ensures that people don’t miss their appointments.
You can give people the option of tracking their repair, so they know just how long it will be before they’re reunited with their instruments.
5. Keep Your Inventory Up-to-Date
If your store sells products online and in-store, your inventory must stay up to date. You don’t want to oversell a product and have to cancel an online order because you sold the last of a particular model of guitar in-store earlier that day.
An inventory system that syncs in-store and online purchases and automatically updates throughout the day is a must-have if you want to minimize stock-outs and customer disappointment.
6. Get Chatty
Chatting with the sales associate at the store about specific makes and models of instruments or gear is one of the joys of visiting a music store. Offering a live chat feature on your site helps you recreate that experience with online shoppers.
Live chat doesn’t just give people a chance to talk shop. It also helps them get quick answers to questions, such as returning a product or when they can expect to receive an order.
In some cases, the online experience can be the only experience a customer has with your store. The services and features your website offers help them trust you and feel like they know you, even if you never meet IRL.