Music is certainly a very, very important element in your overall store’s atmosphere; you’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again, it’s not rocket science. But I will still mention something in this article, and I hope you are aware of it, but if you’re not, listen: no potential customer is under obligation of becoming a customer of yours – meaning that no one has to stay in your store if they don’t find it interesting enough or if the atmosphere you’re providing to them is not pleasant (enough).

In order to create the desired atmosphere, you have to mix all the elements – visuals, sounds, smells – in the most convenient way you can, taking into consideration what kind of customers is your store targeted at. So if, let’s say, your store is addressing to an old clientele, you can play music with jazzy vibes, soft rock, as your customers are most likely to appreciate it, or, to make sure you won’t fail, you can simply play some oldies. But on the other hand, if your customers are young, you must considere hip indie tunes, but especially hits that are relevant and in the top charts.

You, as a retailer, have to be very careful though when it comes to creating the proper atmosphere in your store. You certainly have to put extra time and effort for this – so make sure it’s worth it. As I said before, you have to know very well the type of customers your store will have, and you have to know if background music would really be appreciated and if it would really make sense. for them.

Because if it doesn’t and it’s only a distraction, why would you play it anymore, right? Also, you have to keep in mind that there are some retailers who take things a little bit too far when it comes to music and creating the atmosphere: these are the kind of retailers who, somehow, make their customers have the urge to plug their ears when they come in their store – make sure you’re not like them. So these are some things that you should really take into consideration to assure that your customers will feel well and they’ll be in a good mood when they’re shopping.

You should know which type of music you’re supposed to be playing in your store and you should keep it at a reasonable level. And since I talked and talked about music’s importance in a store, it would only be reasonable to present you a little bit how exactly does it influence customer’s mind.

First of all, you need to know that music tempo, volume and genre are the most important variables.

It has been discovered, based on different studies, that slow music makes customers spend more time in a store, in comparison with a fast speed one, therefore it may also make them spend more. This is explained by the fact that the faster the music is, the higher the arousal is, so music with a more loosened tempo actually prevents these high levels of arousal and slows the customers down.

Music’s volume also has a big impact on customers: if it’s high, they tend to spend less time in a store, but, if it’s softer, they will spend more time. Volume also distorts the perception of time, especially when it comes to women – when music is at a loud volume in a store, they tend to think they spent less time there.

Another study revealed that the age of customers should be taken into consideration when we talk about volume, because younger customers have the tendency of spending more time in a store if the music is loud, whereas older ones will, of course, not have the same behavior, meaning they will spend (a) more (enjoyable) time if the music is only in the background or at a lower volume.

And when it comes to genre, you must be aware that this is one of the first things your shoppers will notice when entering your store. You must not choose your music based on what your employees would like to hear, but based on the image you want to portray in your shoppers’ minds. So you should choose a genre which fits your brand’s image and which would inspire potential customers to loosen their purse strings.

It is also very important that you play a specific genre which relates to the products you’re trying to sell – for example, one will definitely not play heavy metal in a maternity store, will he? Also, different types of music determine different kind of purchasing behaviors of the shoppers.

Let me explain: classical music is highly associated with luxury, class and sophistication, therefore customers hearing it are most likely to purchase more expensive items; but this does not mean you should necessarily choose it for your store – it is not really appropriate for a clothing store, for example, but it’s the best for a wine shop.

Now, as I presented you the effects different types of music or music tempo/volume affect customers’ purchasing habits in a store, and why choosing the perfect music for your store is very important and should not be neglected, let me present you a top of most played songs in stores, which also happens to be a top of most annoying songs played, so you’ll know which ones to definitely avoid.

#1. Vivaldi – The four seasons

Oh, a classical one. Too bad now it only reminds us of endless minutes “on hold” to a call center or even of a warm, crawfish cocktail served in motorway hotels.

#2. Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major

A classical one too. It is now, to quote, “just familiar enough and soft enough to become ubiquitous in sophisticated city restaurants”.

#3. Spandau Ballet – True

Even if this one surely gets people out on the dancefloor, it would drive your customers out of your shop in flocks, if we may say that.

#4. Destiny’s Child – Bills, Bills, Bills

Despiting the title of the song, your customers wouldn’t really spend a lot of money if they heard this ’99 hit.

#5. The Pointer Sisters – I’m So Excited

Sure thing that your customers would not be very excited to stay in your store anymore if this would come along, I guarantee you.

#6. Tom Jones – Delilah

This was meant to sound sophisticated, but it failed. Wanna know why? Because if hearing this, your customers would surely think of The Voice and realise they just can’t spend another Saturday night on the sofa. So they’d save the money that they would’ve spend in your store, get out of it and spend the weekend in the nearest club, probably dancing to True by Spandau Ballet (oh, the irony).

#7. Usher ft. Lil’ Jon & Ludacris – Yeah!

Here, you don’t even have to read about consumer psychology and stuff like that. This song is just…atrocious.

#8. Shaggy ft. Rayvon – Angel

This one is simply démodé and naff. And your shoppers would definitely “let their feet do the talking”… walking out of your store, if you were asking.

#9. Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean – Hips don’t lie

Maybe your customers would get fooled by the body-distorting mirrors – but here would come Shakira, reminding them that their hips don’t lie.

#10. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody

It’s just not appropriate for a store. Brief, you, as a retailer, should be careful when it comes to the music played in your store – you have to invest time and effort in this. You have to study and acknowledge the typology of customers you want and most probably have in your store and you have to make sure you assure a very pleasant, appropriate atmosphere. But be careful – even if your customers are all in the same age or social cathegory, it’s obviously not necessarily that they will all like the same music, but you have to find something that would work as a “common denominator” for them.