Most people would agree that music can affect our mood. But did you realize that it can also affect our behavior? Among other things, it can affect the length of time you choose to spend in a shop. There have been many studies done on music in retail environments, and they all conclude that it's a powerful tool! – Just think about it, if music did not affect a shoppers mood, every shop would play the same music or none at all!
Generally shops that target older shoppers may play "elevator" type music at a lower volume, while stores that target a youngger age group look for more upbeat music played at a higher volume. Matching the music to your customer's age encourages shoppers to spend more money in the shop.
Do you remember the song line "hooked on a feeling?" Well, It really happens. For example, during the Christmas season most shops play Christmas music. This helps the customers stay in the state of Christmas euphoria all month long and links them back to happy childhood memories of Christmas time, a time of innocence and still believing in the miracle of Santa Claus rather than the wonder of MasterCard …!
So it looks clear that music can be used by retailers as a way to identify your stores and affect a shopper's mood, to make them feel happy, nostalgic or relaxed so that they linger (and spend money …)
So, the next obvious question is: What's your music style? Is it consistent? Or do the staff dictate what you play so it's a fractured offering? Do you go from Jack Johnson to AC DC, or have you already recognized this and looked at playing different music at different times of day to enhance sales?
But How can we use music to enhance sales? I hear you ask?
Slow-tempo music encourages consumers to linger. So slow music is a great strategy for a gift shop or clothes retailer, where the long shoppers are in the store, the more they buy whereas fast music actually speeds customers up.
Matching the music to your product ups sales. If you're looking to encourage sales of, say, French wine, research shows that playing French music significantly boosts sales. Just take a minute and think about possible ways that you could use this to your advantage in your retail environment?
White noise works too! It does not just have to music, Silent retail environments make customers nervous, so injecting a low hum of white noise puts them at ease psychologically. It's like a third person is present in the shop shifting the emphasis from them.
Some stores, that see music as integral to their brand have partnered with a record label to bring out CD's of their style of music. Which brings a whole new idea to a lifestyle store …! If you're regularly complimented on your music choice could you consider putting together a compilation album for your customers – in this technological age it does not need to cost a lot! Pottery Barn in the states do this so successfully!
So to recap, music is a good thing in your shop. However, radio is not good. Local radio is very bad (for sales) even if the proprietor may love the local radio station!
Music affects your customers mood and even their decision about how long to spend in your shop – longer times in shops equals more money spent, so let's get those compilation party mixes on the I-Pods!