Music is a powerful medium through which we can self-regulate our emotions and change our moods. Without sounds, visual perception is different: less contrasting, less attention-demanding, and less informative. In retail, music is perceived as a powerful tool due to its ability to influence customers while shopping, many researchers suggesting that there is a strong impact that music has on purchasing behavior. Music affects the time, the speed and even the amount of money spent inside a store.

From experience, retailers state that, for example, loud music gets people to move through the store quicker, while slower and quieter music makes customers stay longer inside the store. On the other side, slow tempo pop music triggers more impulse purchasing. Music has an impact on age as well: older customers shop longer and purchase more when background music is playing, while younger customers shop longer and purchase more when foreground music is played. Abstract sounds trigger different and new.

Music has an impact on age as well: older customers shop longer and purchase more when background music is playing, while younger customers shop longer and purchase more when foreground music is played.

Abstract sounds trigger different and new responses, and fits better to the complex customers that could exist inside a store. Brands with music that “fits” their brand identity are 96% likelier to prompt memory recall.

Genre of music and its rhythm is very important to retail. It is all about creating an atmosphere because, sometimes, people go shopping just to get rid of stress or as a mere hobby.

At the same time, music can boost performance in the workplace, by reducing stress and improving retention. Some stores conducted their own experiments in order to be able to apply their own music strategy, when they understood that music has to fit the store’s status and potential.

For example, on days a UK wine store played stereotypically French music, sales of French wines outsold German wines, and when they played German music, sales of German wine far surpassed the French wine.

This suggests that the purchasing behavior can be culturally exploited so as to improve the awareness of certain products or simply to improve sales. L’illa, Barcelona’s leading town-center, has undergone another interesting experiment: the background music was replaced with computer-generated abstract sounds and the results on sales were significant. The simple fact of providing something utterly different in terms of music and atmosphere, led to an increased number of customers. These experiments demonstrate once again that shopping isn’t always about purchasing goods, but far more than that: an experience on which retailers should invest as much as they can and exploit its potential.

The influence of music throughout the day

It is obvious that stores should take into account the way in which music can influence customer’s mood at different hours. Morning music is about setting a positive mood and getting people excited about the day. Retailers state that the best music to use at this time of the day is the 80s, 90s, and contemporary songs. From 4 pm onwards, some retailers use a mixture of unrecognizable tracks and abstract jazz to help reduce shopper anxiety.

 Tips and tricks to help you choose the right music for your store

#1. Think of music inside the store as an ambiance enhancer; customers shouldn’t really be aware of it. Some retailers state that music should be wordless so that it won’t make customers think too much about the lyrics.

#2. Set a balance between soft and loud music to maintain a right volume. Loud music doesn’t fit anytime; a softly played, lively and upbeat tune is, apparently, the best choice. The right volume would make your customers feel free to have any conversation they want, music being a great buffer.

#3. Adjust the type of store and products with the right music: if you sell upscale products, for example, the best music choice would be jazz or classical. Music must be based on what lifestyle image a brand wants to portray in the minds of its customers. Some studies investigated the impact of music on wine sales and on Christmas related products.

The results suggest that when classical music is played, rather than Top 40, customers tend to select more quality wine. The second study has shown that when Christmas music is played, customers buy more Christmas related products. Again, if your store is selling items made by the local business it would make sense to play music from local artists. Top 40 or hit music might seem too catchy, therefore some retailers avoid it.

Others believe that Top 40 best suits teenagers and that it makes them spend more, while others argue that familiar music can make customers leave the store since they listen to it frequently; it seems boring and reduces the pleasure of shopping which is supposed to be a unique experience each time. The idea is that retailers must be aware of the fact that the genre of music signals shoppers to buy specific items. Therefore, retailers must be distinctive and avoid settling for ordinary!

Music should be a motivator: you can motivate and energize your employees by applying an interesting strategy developed by Cardinal Web Solutions. Each employer has a designated favorite song, which is played a few more times throughout the day when that specific employer has made himself known for something innovative or interesting for the company.

Different age, different music: younger customers tend to spend more time shopping when music is played at a higher volume, whereas older customers spent more time when the music plays in the background or at a lower volume.

The theme of the music can influence customers: for example, music with a social function causes people to think about their role in society and self-expression. Emotional music tends to make customers feel happiness, sadness or excitement. This means that music should be carefully chosen, not just the rhythm, but also the lyrics.

The genre of music changes perception towards the store. Classical music or jazz renders a high-end and sophisticated atmosphere, therefore may infer quality and luxury.

Music has an impact on time perception: when people enjoy what they hear, they act calmly, normally and are ready to stay more inside and no longer keep an eye on the watch.