The Effects of Music on Customer Behaviour

By 26th June 2019Uncategorised

If you’re a business owner and you’re questioning whether you need to play music in your store or restaurant, you may want to keep reading…

Not only is music a great mood enhancer, soothing us when we need to relax and stimulating us when we need a boost, but when used effectively, music also has the power to influence our behaviour. That’s why it’s important for a business to use music to its advantage. Let’s take a look at the facts…

Music Vs. No Music
Have you ever walked into a shop and been greeted with graveyard silence? The experience can be uncomfortable and somewhat intimidating, you feel like the focus is on you and your every move is being watched. It can be a massive deterrent to shoppers, who will simply look elsewhere for a more comfortable shopping atmosphere. Research found that retailers that played background music in their store had happy shoppers who stayed 18% longer and made 17% more purchases*.

Background music = more sales

What type of music should I be playing?
As music is such a key factor to setting the atmospherics in your business, it’s vital that the right style of music is played. Research has found that fast music was more suited to impulsive shopping, and slow music was more suited to contemplative, planned shopping. This is because loud, fast music increases arousal, meaning shoppers tend to walk round faster. Similarly, slower music in restaurants makes patrons drink slower and eat fewer bites per minute.

The most important thing about the music is it has to be on-brand and it has to suit your customer’s needs (you wouldn’t walk in to a high-end, flagship designer store and expect to hear loud death metal music!) Familiar, preferred music decreases the perceived time spent in store, and customers stay longer and tend to buy more when the music is right for them. In an experimental field study in France, a flower shop sold more when romantic songs were played compared to pop music and no music. In a similar study elsewhere, more French than German wine was sold when French music was played, and vice versa!

Congruent music = more sales

How do I keep everyone happy?
Retail and hospitality businesses are going to get a mixture of customers throughout the day, so it’s important to have a music strategy that caters for everyone. For example, a bar could be quiet early afternoon, and liven up as soon as it gets to happy hour, so you therefore want music that reflects the change in atmosphere. Similarly, a supermarket may find a greater number of mums shopping with young kids at quiet periods in the day, so they’ll want music that keeps them happy and relaxed. Music programming strategies such as day parting, time segmenting, store targeting and rich mixing of various genres by style, artists or date etc, help to target music to precisely the right audience, so the music is always appropriate and effective, whatever time of day, wherever they are.

Psychologist and lecturer in Music Psychology, Dr Vicky Williamson, sums up the effects of music on consumer behaviour rather nicely, “Music positively influences consumer mood/emotional states through psycho-physiological reactions and autobiographical memory associations. Silence by comparison can be intrusive, as it throws unwelcome attention on the consumers’ behaviour. Music also provides an effective and adaptable tool for bringing a sense of pleasure and relaxation, thereby promoting a positive attitude, and boosting a sense of brand identity and loyalty.”

We hope you found this post useful. We’ll be there to help you as you make your journey into finding the right music for your business. Like us on Facebook /kvhstudios or follow us on twitter and Instagram @kvhstudios to ask us any questions.

Clare Caldwell, Sally A. Hibbert (1999), ‘Play that one again, the effect of music tempo on consumer behaviour in a restaurant.’

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