To begin with, I would like you to focus on your inner client for a minute and forget about your job as a retailer. Now, for those who have the common pastime of strolling around shops at the mall and checking out even the tiny hand-made jewelry boutiques, without ever actually buying more than an inexpensive item – for those of you (and you know exactly who you are!), I have one simple question: are you ever paying attention to the background?
Hold on, I am not talking about your actual surroundings, which I am sure you are paying a lot of attention to, especially if they are splattered with your favorite shades and fancy fabrics. I am talking about the music. Have you ever caught yourself starting to sing along? I know I have (I even busted out a few risky dance moves in public, but I do not really want to recall that now, I will leave that for another story-time).
Personally, I am not a part of the above-mentioned category. I am very much frightened by the monstrosity that is the mall, simply because I find agitation and crowded indoors too much for me. I feel as if we are all clustered, unable to breathe properly. Being given all those thoughts, my only stress-relieving option is the music. Each shop has a different sound, but have you ever noticed the similarities between them music wise? And, going even further, have you ever noticed a certain impact that music has on its customers, on your own self?
Let me introduce you to this entertaining and eye-opening game I have come up with. It goes like this: you get through the huge gate of the mall and head directly to the shop you are usually beginning your mall routine with. But let us change one tiny aspect that you perhaps have not thought of before.
Instead of being all ears at the rush around you, be all ears at your inner shopper, plug your headphones in your ears and pick a tune to search for the perfect pair of socks. Now pick one to go with a jewelry hunt.
And now let us not forget about that perfect cocktail party dress you are dreaming of finding. Have you noticed anything? Of course, we humans have each a specific taste in music, as we do in any other aspect of our lives, but after all there is a certain feeling we get when we find what we are looking for and that one particular emotion is something we all share.
Game over now. Let us get to the serious business. As a retailer, in order to get customers buy and enjoy the process of purchasing, you can use different tricks when it comes to your music choice. Here I have listed the few that I find the most interesting and that you will surely view as useful:
#1. The right type of music gives the customer a feeling of tranquility and therefore the right mood to start purchasing. It is no news for us that when we are in a good mood, we suddenly feel the urge to reward ourselves with a nice addition to our closet, to our home decor or what not.
Knowing this, retailers choose to play uplifting songs rather than sad ones. Have you ever heard the original version of one of Adele’s songs when trying out a potential new pair of jeans? Well of course not, because they always play the festival-inspired remix, so it raises everyone’s mood and determines them to buy something.
#2. A higher tempo fastens the process of purchasing, a thing that has been demonstrated with the case of no other than McDonald’s! Studies show that McDonald’s’ strategy is the following: the restaurant plays fast music that stirs up the clients and leads to them eating quickly and afterward leaving. Such a strategy stimulates the customer to purchase swiftly and then leave right after, which benefits the selling process of the specific store as a whole.
#3. If the music genre fits the style that the store is promoting, it increases the customers’ reliance in that store. That being said, if we were to walk in a wedding store only to listen to a rapping background beat, we would most probably exit immediately and search for a more serious shopping environment. In fact, it is all psychological. Each store has a particular style that is sustained not only by a pattern when it comes to its products and design, but also with the ambiance created by music and scents. After all, music is a great element of a store’s identity. You wouldn’t play Mozart in a Boho jewelry boutique, would you? But you would play it in a wine store or in a formal wear store.
#4. Different times of the day bring out different moods in customers, which means that the music played in the afternoon cannot coincide with the music played in the evening or in the morning, right before the first client walks in. Studies show that the earlier it is, the more people need to hear an exciting beat that instantly sets good vibes. As the evening approaches, it is best to play a more relaxing music, as the shopping areas get more and more crowded and the customers can feel agitated and suffocated. In such a busy environment, a store that plays soothing music can feel like an oasis. Needless to say, that impression can determine customers to buy.
#5. Certain music choices influence not only what a customer buys, but also how much he is willing to spend on it. It is demonstrated by an amazing group of psychology scientists (Curtin University and Macquarie University), who separate 120 students in four rooms – three of them with different types of music and the fourth without any background sound – and give them several menu options, including dishes from the three countries that the background music had its origin in.
As expected, those who heard Indian music were influenced to choose an Indian dish, those who listened to American music were more likely to pick an American specific, and so on. Also, music has a great influence when it comes to how much we are willing to pay for a product. If the music suggests a high-quality and rich ambiance, the customers are more likely to want to spend more money. The researchers’ conclusion was that “Music incongruent with product image can lead to a reduction in the maximum prices consumers are prepared to pay.”
To put it in a nutshell, the music tricks retailers use to make customers buy cannot influence them to the point of making them buy anything or distort their natural preferences, but it is true that a few details that we have never paid attention to before can trigger particular behavioral changes.