According to the researchers from the University of Groningen, music hasn’t just an impact on one’s mood, but also on how people perceive the world or the environment that plays certain kind of music. The perception is transfigured when different songs are played because our brain continuously compares the information that comes in through our eyes with what it expects on the basis of what we know about the world.

The brain builds up expectations not just on the basis of experience but on our mood as well. Other studies ensure us that music has an effect on perception even when there is no congruency between what is heard and what can be seen. This concept of musical fit is very important in retail, especially for stores that want to provide the best experience of shopping. In order to achieve that, it is very important that the entire set of strategies connected to visually improving the layout of the stores be accompanied by music that defines the products and the vision of the store.

As it has been stated before, music has a major importance in retail because of its effect on changing customer’s mood and behavior. It is very important to think of how music can be exploited so that it could have the right impact on how customers feel and how they perceive the environment and products. We know that without sounds, visual perception isn’t genuine, any experience or connection to the outside world being altered.

Without sounds, we perceive the information from the outside less contrasting and less informative. Generally speaking, the reasons why music is used in retail are connected to the intention of setting a tempo to energize and / or relax customers, to make them feel comfortable during the process of shopping, to slow their sense of time so as to make sure they won’t feel stressed, and to define the products.

Music has an impact on time, the speed and on the amount of money people are inclined to spend. After we have stated some basic facts about the importance of music for retail stores, the following paragraphs will provide insightful information about the influence music has on the environment perception.

It is important for you to know that the music you choose for your store has an impact on how customers perceive everything inside, from products, prices, discounts, promotions, store vision and so on, and that the overall perception can create a halo effect on everything that’s inside, influencing also the future decisions about purchasing from that specific store. Also, different types of music have specific effects:

Classical music

When using classical background music, the atmosphere seems more sophisticated because it renders the illusion that the store is exclusive, with high-quality products. Exclusiveness is known as the best guarantee for quality. When classical music is played in high-end stores that sell luxury items, like jewelry or fine clothing, music may develop among customers a tendency to perceive the products even more valuable, and pay more for them.

The simple association of refined music with the products and the store renders the feeling of high-quality and this situation leads to more sales. If this sounds far-fetched, think about how easily you trust products you buy from a supermarket than from a little store down the corner. A store can set customers trust in the products they sell or not.


Jazz is used in stores for its power to reduce anxiety due to the relaxing feeling it creates. The effect of jazz is similar to that of classical music, because it is perceived as a complex style, a combination of elegance, improvisation, and tradition. Classical music is perceived as a sign of high refinement, while jazz renders a feeling of so-to-speak “accessible high-end”. This genre has an interesting impact on stores that sell high-priced products but are not generally associated with exclusiveness, rendering a feeling of high quality at the same time. Jazz can also create the illusion of well-defined, original or products with personality and identity and this is the reason why it’s best effects are to be seen in stores that sell special types of products.

Pop music

 Pop music renders a cheerful atmosphere and this is the reason for which stores that play this type of music usually sell clothing, footwear or accessories for youngsters. Playing this genre of music is perceived to have an impact on customers’ attitude towards the entire shopping experience, customers feeling free to walk around shopping because there’s no stress about very expensive clothes, experience telling them that a more expensive store would have required a more sophisticated atmosphere with a special kind of music. Pop music is set mostly to energize and increase impulse buying. Most of the stores chose this type of music mostly during the morning to set up an atmosphere for the entire day.

Top 40

Top 40 is generally used in common stores to create the feeling of familiarity. Most of us recognize the selected songs from top 40 and this is the reason why this music strategy proves to very efficient because people generally enjoy places they perceive as being familiar. The feeling of intimacy can have an impact on how people perceive the act of shopping. Customers seem to be more rapidly convinced about certain products and develop a higher trust in the products. They would also feel more comfortable when asking the staff for further information.