In Store Background Music Influences The Customer Experience

In Store Background Music Influences The Customer Experience

in-store background music

In-store background music plays an integral part of your brand identity, but many businesses aren’t using background music to their full advantage, or perhaps even at all.  When used strategically, the music played at a retail store, spa, restaurant, hotel, etc can have a positive effect on your customers and influence their shopping/purchasing decisions.

However, different types of businesses require different types of music. For example; it makes no sense to play upbeat dance music in your hotel lobby when your target demographic is the older generation looking to spend a peaceful spa weekend in a relaxing, romantic atmosphere.

There have been numerous studies that show the type of music played does have an effect on a shopper’s behavior. Music provides an effective way for brands to connect with their guests, encourage them to linger and spend money.  But if a business gets the type of music wrong, it has a negative impact and irritates customers.

Not convinced? Trip Advisor is the world’s largest travel site offering 320 million reviews and opinions covering more than 6.2 million accommodations, and has numerous negative reviews about poor customer experiences based upon the wrong choice in background music. Zagat, the go-to-source for ratings of dining establishments reported that awful background music was the number two complaint that people had about restaurants.

Here are just a few of the negative reviews from participants who had poor customer experiences based upon poor music choices.


“ The first thing that you will notice, which made us disappointed, was the very loud music, so loud we couldn’t enjoy eating at this restaurant …”

“The hotel advertised a French style and elegance of 17th and 18th century, but they had blaring loud rock music playing in the hotel lobby. Not so elegant! …”

“The staff was nice, but the spa experience was ruined by a nauseating pseudo-romantic tape-loop that hasn’t been changed in a generation …”

Now, what happens when you get the in-store background music right for your brand? We’ll stick with the same theme for a moment. Open Table provides online reservations for about 31,000 restaurants around the world and seats about 15 million diners a month. A study showed that the right music, each customer is probably going to be spending about $2 more on each order. If you’re serving about 100 people a day, then that’s an extra $200. This  amounts to an extra $6000 a month, and an extra $72,000 a year! Not bad for making sure you have the right music choice. You can probably see why Starbucks takes their music so seriously.

Music is a massively important element in making your guests feel comfortable, and also influences buying decisions and behavior. Forget hooking up an iPod with a staff members’ favorite playlist as their preference in music probably doesn’t properly match your brand or customers’ taste. Thinking about simply playing Pandora? Besides the fact that Pandora contains commercials, possibly even one from a competitor, their agreement terms specifically state: Use of the Services in a business establishment requires a special license. Failure to comply with music copyright laws is ill-advised, and may lead to a much greater risk of litigation and costly to your business.

Essentially, the music that you play will need to reflect the atmosphere that you are trying to create for your guests and there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Consult with a professional in-store music design firm, so that you get the right music to create a positive customer experience. Getting it wrong, can not only have a negative effect on your guests’ experience, but also your bottom!

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