When you’re out for some much needed retail therapy, have you ever caught yourself bopping to the beat, or singing along to music pumping through the in-store sound system?
What if we told you that the music they play in stores actually affects the way you shop.
Whenever we talk about attracting and retaining customers, we always tend to think of marketing campaigns, loyalty programmes – but very rarely do we think about using music as a way to do so.
So if your business isn’t leveraging the power of music to gain more traction, it’s time to step to the beat of a different drum.
Let’s explore the psychology behind how music affects people, and how music can be used to reinforce your brand.
The psychology of music
How exactly does music influence people?
Well everyone’s musical taste is different – you can’t just blast a Spotify playlist of top 40 hits in your business and call it a day. Research has shown there are several common components of music influencing people in certain ways.
Tempo is the pace at which a piece of music is presented. The tempo also informs if the music is going to have a fast or slow beat, also known as up or down tempo.
Research has shown that music with fast tempo has proven to evoke positive, happier emotions whereas music with a slow tempo evokes negative emotions such as sadness and depression.
This is something you might have experienced before. In a live music venue, think about how the crowd reacted when the music was a steady dance beat vs. when the music had more of a calm and slow rhythm.
Different musical genres can affect one’s mood too. Experiment with different Spotify playlists for different occasions, and watch how the vibe of your social gatherings are affected.
Note that genres affect different people differently, for example you may not be a fan of metal music but there are people to whom metal songs provide a sense of comfort.
However, there has been research that has proven how some genres affect a general group of audience; one such study showed how Pop music is said to elicit increased levels of comfort and relaxation. Similarly Smooth Jazz with a mellow beat has also been associated with feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Applying this to your business, you can use a particular genre to put forth a specific kind of personality you want your brand to be remembered for. If you are looking for something more young and trendy, pop songs, and if you are looking for an elegant vibe, classical music can complement perfectly.
How loud or soft should you be playing the music?
The earliest study conducted on this by Cain-Smith & Curnow (1966) found that when the music was loud, shoppers tended to spend less time in the store but when it was softer, shoppers tended to spend more time in the store. But this did not reflect on the impact on sales, only the time patrons spent in the store.
You can use this to your advantage to help with the customer flow if your store occupies a smaller space. On the other hand, if you intend for your customers to take their time with their shopping – you can use softer music to help with that!
Having understood the psychological effect of music – how can you now translate that into boosting sales?
Here are some tips to incorporate music as part of your brand.
Keep in tune with your branding strategy
- Creating the ideal ambience
You need to think about what kind of ambience you want your store to have, and this needs to be in line with your store’s overall branding.
For example, if you want your brand to be seen as something young and new, you might want to use music that features new artists, trending pop music known by the younger generation and so on. On the same note, it is helpful to align the music you want to play with the tastes and preferences of your target demographic.
It is worth digging deeper into this territory, finding out more about your customer demographic, you can test which kind of music would draw your customers in and feel the most ease at, and work your way into incorporating it to your brand.
At the end of the day, you want to create an enjoyable experience for your customers first before it can be translated to higher sales.
- Standardise your playlists and music
Once you have analysed what your customers are into musically, the next step would be to curate playlists for your outlets. This would create a sense of familiarity among shoppers and be more drawn to your outlet.
Best case scenario – your shoppers would know where they are shopping even without looking at the sign! Or you might just attract customers to your shop just because of the music. This is actually proven to be true, customers are more likely to stay in the store if they like the music and would return to visit.
You might also want to keep this curated music list to use for your online social media content as well – just so that this reinforces your brand identity both offline and online.
Do make sure you regularly update and maintain the playlists that you curate, so that you can avoid repetition and always keep up with the times.
- Try producing original music!
Of course, this is if you have the resources and the capability to take it to the next level! The best way to make your brand identity more unique is to give consumers something that nobody else has, something wholly original – your own music.
Having music with a catchy jingle and beat is the best way for your customers to remember your brand and associate with it.
For example, when one of Japan’s biggest discount store brands, Don Quijote opened their outlets in Singapore under the name Don Don Donki – one of the most widely talked about features is their original theme song of the same name.
Key point – the music mentions the brand name several times throughout the song which is ingrained in the customers minds at every touchpoint of their journey. It’s a technique worth noting!
Music is definitely an underrated, yet an incredible tool that can value-add to your branding and help boost sales.
We hope our article has equipped you with the knowledge and tips to get started.
Check out the other articles on Consumer Psychology:
However, we understand that as a small business, it can be difficult to be in perfect harmony with some aspects of your business operations.
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