The Best Music for Retail Shops


Music plays a very significant role in any type of business. Its presence helps create an appealing ambiance that will encourage customers to stay in your store for a longer period of time. Sometimes people pass by stores not necessarily to shop, but the music there helps them keep engaged. This encourages a positive attitude towards the store, which in turn may encourage them to shop. What is the best music for retail shops?

The correct type of music played in a retail store directly affects the quantity and quality of sales. As such it is very important to know the factors in selecting the correct playlist for your store.


Best Music for Retail Shops – The Tempo


This refers to the speed at which music is played. Music indirectly affects the physiology, psychology, and behaviour of shoppers without them even noticing. A study in 1982 at a New York grocery store on how music tempo affects buying behaviours illustrated that when slow music was played at the store, the shoppers spent more time instore. This increased the gross sales compared to when upbeat music was played.

The study showed that fast music increases the rate of breathing, arousal and makes people move faster, which results in them buying less things. Slow music, on the other hand, leads to slower shoppers as they are relaxed and so they spend more time in the store interacting with the products. Therefore, music with a relaxed tempo provides a better shopping experience for your target market.


Best Music for Retail Shops – The Volume


In 1966, a field experiment was conducted by Smith and Curnow on the effect of the volume of music in a business. The results showed that the volume of the music only affected the amount of time spent in the store and not necessarily the sales. When louder music was played the shoppers moved faster through the store compared to when soft music was playing. This can be a good thing if your store has limited floor space; you can focus your playlist on fast music to make movement in the store faster.

The volume of music has also known to influence the perception of people, about time. They tend to believe that a lot of time has passed when loud music is playing. Volume varies with your target market as everyone has their own preferences. For instance, the younger generation, those below the age of 25, are mostly drawn to loud music while the older generation are drawn to slow paced, low volume music which helps them feel calm.

It is important to regulate the general volume of the music in your business place. The music is meant to be heard in the background to create that soothing shopping effect. Noise is still noise, however, soothing as it may sound. Moderate the volume of the music – not too loud, not too soft; find the right volume. People do not want to hear their own conversations or those of others above everything else. This is an important consideration, especially in the restaurant business.


Best Music for Retail Shops – The Genre


The genre of music played in a store is by far the most important factor. It is very difficult to get music that everyone likes because people prefer different genres. The younger generation is more drawn to the latest music which includes Top 40s hits, whilst others prefer RnB and soft rock. The key is to associate the genre of music with the brand you are trying to promote.

A study in 1993 investigated the effect of playing classical music versus modern pop music, also known as the Top 40s, in a wine shop. The results showed that when classical music was played, more expensive wines were bought in comparison to when Top 40s music was played. The researchers stated that “If consumers associate wine consumption with prestige and sophistication, then Top 40s music may provide an incompatible cue…”

The same study showed that even those shoppers who did not have much knowledge on the different types of wine ended up buying the expensive wines. This did not necessarily increase the quantity of sales but it increased the quality. Classical music is associated with sophistication and class, which resulted in the customers believing the more expensive wine was the best option.

The results of this study show that you need to vary your music according to what you are selling. If it is high-quality products then jazz and classical music is appropriate. If you are selling kids’ stuff, try going for the warm and fun kind of music. If it is mainly local products, focus on the local music that will make the shoppers feel at home and increase their chances of coming back.

With the above factors in place it is also important to consider your delivery of the music and how to manage your playlist from time to time. Always ensure that the music is in the background. Kurt Mortensen, an expert in motivational psychology, stated that the customers should not necessarily be aware of the music you are playing. The music should not be overpowering, but rather it should merely be an atmospheric presence.

Ensure that you balance the volume and vary the music especially if your store has shoppers of different ages. Make sure your playlist is flexible and can cater for everyone’s needs. Focus on what the customers like to hear and not what you like to hear. This has been a common mistake in many retail outlets.

In conclusion, music is an important motivating factor in the marketing world not only for shoppers but also employees. It will bring more people in and keep them there. Playing music in a retail outlet is an ongoing trend that is producing very positive results in terms of sales. A shopping environment that is quiet without any music creates an awkward and boring atmosphere and people would not want to spend a lot of time shopping there or even come back. By using the best music for retail shops, the quality and quantity of your sales will increase.



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