Source: EMR research for PRS (2009)

It would seem that many retail shops on the high road have been pumping out music into their stores for years without having any real understanding of what effect it has been having on their customers’ behaviour. Have too many shops been relying on playlists that are from their store manager’s iTunes playlist?

So how many times have you walked out of a retail shop because you hated the music?  It would seem that 80% of shoppers share your sentiments. But supposing you could use your experience as a shopper to play music that encouraged your customers to stay longer spend more and perceive you and your branding in a more positive light.

In a recent article published by The Times, it was said that classical music can make people over estimate the quality of a product by up to 5% and customers were finding themselves prepared to be paying more for products. The research from Goldsmith proved that the sound of traffic put shoppers in a bad mood and more likely to make irrational decisions, and the sounds of birds singing in garden centres, increased the number of barbecues purchased.

From our own research we have evidence that the effect of music on shopping activities goes deeper than that. There is no doubt that music has huge emotional, psychological and social impacts on humans; so why are we surprised that it can even affect our behaviour when shopping and actually influence what we buy. Here at soundlounge we have been pondering for years whether and how music affects customers behaviour in store.


Source: EMR research for PRS (2009)

Other studies have also produced staggering results on how music can have great impacts on the subconscious mind. In a wine shop, French music was played on certain days and German music on other days. On French music days, 8 out of 10 customers bought French wine and on German music days, 7 out of 10 customers bought German wine, probably without even realising!  (Source: Dr Adrian C. North, Dr David J. Hargreaves and Jennifer McKendrick (1999), The influence of in-store music on wine selections. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 271-276) Other surveys carried out by soundlounge have shown that the right music can increase the time spent in-store by 14%, make the store seem 8% trendier and even make customers feel happier! One of the most significant figures we’ve come across is that purchase propensity increases by 25% when music fits the brand, be it on a commercial or in the store. Music relates on such a personal level that it can increase consumer experience by an amazing 1,200%!

If, 44% of your customers admitted that the wrong music or if the music was too loud can irritate them enough to actually contemplate walking out, then shouldn’t you be thinking harder about music. It would seem that today’s customers are clued up and tuned in (or out) and sounding good is as important as lighting, layout and the general look of the store