Are we actually affected by the music in stores?
The ubiquitous music heard across shopping centres, clothing stores, supermarkets, coffee shops and bars is widely thought to have positive effects on customer mood and behaviour, however a new study has found this may not be the case.
Associate Professor Chris Baumann with colleagues at the University of Hamburg reviewed whether the types of music played in common retail and service settings influenced the mood and behaviour of consumers.
The research, published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, found that the presence of in-store music (compared to its absence) resulted in mixed effects on a customer's mood: sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and sometimes non-significant.
"Following the widespread belief that in-store music affects customers' responses positively, managers invest considerable resources to incorporate in-store music into their overall store design. Yet, for managers it is not clear whether it is always beneficial to play in-store music, in other words, whether customers react positively or negatively to it," said Associate Professor Baumann.
"This study shows that it is not clear-cut. Customers react to music played in stores in very different ways. Often there is no effect on customer mood or behaviour at all, or even a negative effect," said Associate Professor Baumann.
"These mixed effects of the existence of in-store music may occur for different reasons. First, it could be that the design of in-store music is crucial to customer responses, or the service setting itself may also play an important role in the relationship between in-store music and customers' responses," said Associate Professor Baumann.
"The next time you walk into a supermarket or clothing store, pay particular attention to how the music in the store is making you feel. It could be that slow music being played over the speaker will have a positive effect on your mood, whereas fast music may inspire a negative impression of the store, when compared to no music playing."