Visual Merchandising: Retail Psychology in Music

Savvy retailers are now using music in addition to other types of visual merchandising to entice customers to buy more. Alongside scent, lighting and décor, background music can help customers linger more and dwell on products which increase their likelihood of purchasing your products.

Many studies have been conducted to establish the effect of music on customers’ buying behavior. Different types of music can be associated with different types of buying behaviors. For example, some kinds of music are associated with higher quality of products, more relaxed atmosphere, faster shopping experiences, sophistication, and lower price tags and even influence impulse buying. Therefore, a store that has background music playing is preferable as silence is intrusive and makes customers uncomfortable by perceiving increased attention on their behavior inside the retail space.

Indeed, a study by Milliman Inc. in 1982 established customer dwell time as 34% longer in stores where background music was played as compared to stores which did not employ such tactics. This increased dwell time was accompanied by increased sales. Other studies have gone on to show that slower music makes customers move slower and increases their chances of lingering in the retail store.

In addition pleasant but unfamiliar music is preferable to familiar music as the latter cause customers to focus on the music rather than shopping. Yet another study found that playing classical music in the background helped increase the customers’ willingness to spend in the store. Hence, your playlist should be tailored to suit the kind of customers you are targeting.

How Background Music Influences Shopping Behaviour

#1. Music uplifts moods and increases positive emotions influencing customers’ buying behavior by inspiring them to make a purchase. This because when customers are happy, they tend to buy more.

#2. Slow music increases the customers’ desire to spend more time in the store which in turn increases their purchasing intent.

#3. Background music’s effect on the buying behavior of customer depends on the kind of store. While most stores prefer soothing background music, places that tend to attract young people see an increase in willingness to spend when the background club music is loud. This is because it overloads senses leading to a weaker self-control. Other places not specifically targeting young customers should, however, stay away from loud club music as it could chase away older clientele.

#4. Music can also be used to influence buying a particular product such as French music influences wine purchases and American music in diners influences purchases of American dishes such as hot dogs.

#5. Pleasant background music also helps customers perceive they have spent a shorter time on a waiting line which helps them regard the shopping experience as multisensory and great instead of tiring in cases where there is no background music.

#6. Choose the right genre of music to fit your store’s clientele. A good way to ensure that you nail your playlist is by researching about your customer bases and making sure the kind of music you choose to play complements and appeals to your brand.

#7. Playing music also improves certain areas in the running of your business. For example based on needs such as increased sales volume, push customers to purchase certain items, increasing their dwell time or turnover rate, you can fulfill these needs using well-chosen background music.

#8. Classical music is also associated with luxury and can, therefore, help influence the customer to perceive a higher cash value for a certain item increasing their willingness to pay more for it.

#9. On the overall, background music can also boost a brand’s uniqueness by creating an atmosphere within the store tailored such that the customers will tend to associate the feeling they get due to the music with the store. This atmosphere can help the customers feel relaxed and happy to spend both their time and money. It can also increase the likelihood of a customer returning to the store which assures customer loyalty.

#10. Great and suitable background music can also be used to turn new customers into regular customers. This is because it can create a unique and pleasant first impression that is lasting by motivating the subconscious whenever the right mood for the brand and target demographic is achieved.

#11. Aside from influencing customer’s buying behavior, music can also increase employees’ productivity by uplifting their moods which in turn makes them more personable and helpful to your customers improving the latter’s shopping experience.

#12. Seasonal music in combination with other marketing techniques provides a better experience for customers who are shopping for a particular season or holiday. For example, playing Christmas music in the days leading up to it helps shoppers buy Christmas merchandise and gifts due to the reminder and anticipatory feeling that is evoked.

Consequently, choosing the right kind of music how and when it is played as well as its sound level greatly influences the amount of time customers spend in your business, how much they spend as well as how positively they find the shopping experience.