There are many reasons why retail stores, department stores and restaurants play music inside their premises. The music can keep the employees from being bored, and it can also attract customers who like the music being played. Additionally, the music can help define the personality of the brand. But an argument can be made that the right music can compel window shoppers into becoming paying customers.
Is this really true? Does it matter if popular music is being played instead of classical music? And is playing music better than no music at all? Do you take into consideration the kind of products you’re selling when choosing your music? What about the demographic of your customers?
While we may all have our opinions on the subject, the marketing industry have conducted studies to point you to the right answers:
- Grocery stores and music tempo. In a 1982 study conducted in an NYC grocery store, it was discovered that a slower tempo in the music resulted in people spending more time in the store, and consequently they bought more items. According to the scientists, fast music caused people to move at a faster pace which limits their time in the grocery so they in turn spend less money.
- Restaurants and music tempo. In a 1999 study conducted in a restaurant, it was also shown that slow music triggered patrons to eat more slowly and spend more time eating, while they also spent more money on alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, with fast music patrons ate more quickly, and that’s not always a bad thing for a restaurant. For establishments like fast food establishments, it may actually be a good idea to play fast music so that customers can finish their meals quickly and give way to other diners.
- Customer age and music volume. The choice of music may also depend on the average age of customers. Young shoppers spend more time shopping in places where the music is loud, while older customers spend more time in a store that plays soft music. This was confirmed by a 1988 study.
- Top 40 music vs. classical music. Music can affect buying behavior and this explains why Christmas music is played often in so many shops during the festive season. Christmas carols signified sharing and giving, and shoppers were more likely to buy gifts for their loved ones and Christmas items.
Classical music also wins out over Top 40 music when the shop’s featured items are expensive or associated with sophistication. A 1993 study found that in a wine store, consumers spent more money when classical music is played rather than pop music. They chose to buy the more expensive wines instead of buying more bottles.
But the genre of the music must match the “genre” of the products you’re selling. For youth fashion items, playing Top 40 music obviously makes much more sense if the goal is to attract young shoppers to buy. What makes sense is the fact that there is no “one size fits all” strategy