1. Music changes your perception of time
You know why casinos and malls often don’t have outside windows? That’s because they want you to lose time and stay there longer. You can also do the same with music.
By manipulating different musical characteristics of background music such as tempo or volume, researchers have discovered some interesting effects on our psychology as well as shopping behavior.
One of the first studies on this subject, conducted in the 1980s, found that customers spent 38% more time shopping at the grocery store listening to slow-paced music compared to fast-paced music. The same effect appeared in the restaurant setting, when the authors repeated the study.
We often don’t pay attention to background music, but thanks to its subtlety, our behavior changes without us even realizing it. We change the speed of movement in the shop and the length of stay there.
A study published in the Journal of Business Research looked at the results of 32 studies on the topic and found the features of music that help people last longer in stores are:
When there is music (compared to when there is no music).
When playing music at low volume.
When the music has a slow tempo.
When the music is familiar to the listener.
When music belongs to a favorite genre.
When music doesn’t have a complex structure.
Music can really influence people’s perception of time. When customers listen to high volume music at a faster tempo and they don’t like the song, they feel like time is running a lot slower. No shop owner wants their customers to feel like they’ve been waiting longer than expected. It will bring bad reviews and customers will not want to come back again.
2. Music makes you spend more
Music in the right space will extend your stay and make you spend more money.
As mentioned, if music can keep more people in the store, then it will be better for business. Every retailer wants people to spend more time in their stores. The more people inside, the more money they will collect.
When music fits the context you are in, it will greatly influence your shopping behavior.
Fast music at high volume is preferred in clubs or bars, but for supermarkets, retail stores, and restaurants, slower, softer music makes people stay longer and spend more money.
In fact, a study has shown that when people listen to slow music of the kind they like, they spend more on food and drink. Staying at the table longer can encourage you to order more things like dessert or a few glasses of wine. Plus, when you enjoy the music you love, you don’t have to think about how much you’ve spent and don’t have to worry about buying more.
Music can also increase people’s perceptions of the quality of a product and how much they are willing to spend on certain items.
Example: A group of researchers found that when a liquor store played classical music, their customers were willing to buy more expensive wine.
In such a context, classical music tends to be associated with higher socioeconomic status, prestige and sophistication, thereby influencing people’s thinking and making them more willing to buy goods at higher prices.
The same thing happened in a cafe with classical music. After listening to different styles of music, the result is that customers are willing to pay more for the items displayed when classical music is played. The elegance inherent in classical music makes people judge things differently.
Music can also direct the customer’s attention to the product the seller wants to sell.
Example: If you’re promoting German wine, play German music in the halls of the wine district. And if you find that French wines are falling behind, add a few punctuated French tunes and your sales are going in the right direction.
The results of the wine selection tests show that, on days when French music is playing in the wine shop aisles, French wines sell German wines at a 4:1 ratio. Meanwhile, on German music day, German wines outperformed French wines by a ratio of 2:1. Of course, salespeople can use music to help turn a customer’s attention, and the decision will depend on the product’s brand reputation.