The Effects of Music on Customer Behaviour

20 Aug 2013

If you’re a business owner and you’re questioning whether you need to play music in your hotel, restaurant, store, gym, etc. you may want to keep reading…

Not only is music a great mood enhancer, soothing us when we need to relax and stimulating us when we need a boost, but when used effectively music also has the power to influence our behaviour, and the effects of music don’t end there; that’s why it’s important for a business to use music to its advantage. Let’s take a look at the facts…

Music vs. No Music

Have you ever walked into a hotel, restaurant, store, etc. and been greeted with graveyard silence? The experience is uncomfortable and somewhat intimidating, you feel like the focus is on you and every move you make is being watched. It can be a massive deterrent to customers, who will simply look elsewhere for a more inviting and comforting atmosphere. Research found that retailers that played background music in their store had happy shoppers who stayed 18% longer and made 17% more purchases*.

Playing music = more sales

What type of music should I be playing?

As music is such a key factor to setting the atmospherics in your business, it’s vital that the right style of music is being played. Research has found that fast music increases the customer turnaround in restaurants, and slow music, increases the individual customer spend. This is because loud, fast music increases arousal, meaning customers tend to eat faster. Similarly, slow music make customers drink slower, eat fewer bites per minute and make them more likely to order that extra glass of wine etc.

The most important thing about the music is it has to be on-brand and it has to suit your customer’s needs (you wouldn’t walk in to a high end, flagship hotel and expect to hear loud death metal music!) Familiar, preferred music decreases the perceived time spent, and customers stay longer and tend to purchase more when the music is right for them. In an experimental field study in France, a flower shop sold more when romantic songs were played compared to pop music and no music. In a similar study elsewhere, more French and German wine was sold when French music was played, and vice versa!

Congruent music = more sales

How do I keep everyone happy?

Retail and hospitality businesses get a mixture of customers throughout the day, so it’s important to have music which suits your interior brand and caters for everyone. For example, a bar could be quiet early afternoon, and get lively as soon as it gets to happy hour, so you therefore need music that reflects the change in atmosphere. Similarly, a supermarket may find a greater number of mums shopping with young kids at quiet periods in the day, so they’ll want music that keeps them happy and relaxed. Music scheduling such as day parting, time segmenting and a mixture of various genres by style, help to target music to suit the audience or atmosphere you require, ensuring the music is always appropriate and effective, whatever time of day.

Psychologist and lecturer in Music Psychology, Dr Vicky Williamson, sums up the effects of music on consumer behaviour rather nicely, “Music positively influences consumer mood/emotional states through psycho-physiological reactions and autobiographical memory associations. Silence by comparison can be intrusive, as it throws unwelcome attention on the consumers’ behaviour.”

“Music also provides an effective and adaptable tool for bringing a sense of pleasure and relaxation, thereby promoting a positive attitude, and boosting a sense of brand identity and loyalty.”

We hope you found these examples of the effects of music on customer behaviour useful, and you’re able to take something away from this post. We work with a huge variety of businesses, and have designed our Muzo service on extensive research to ensure you have the most effective music for your business playing. Keep up-to-date with all our latest posts, news and general muzings by liking us on Facebook and or following us on Twitter.

Clare Caldwell, Sally A. Hibbert (1999), “Play that one again, the effect of music tempo on consumer behaviour in a restaurant.