Music can be a powerful tool for businesses to increase sales. Studies have shown that music can affect customer behaviour in stores, bars, restaurants, and other retail spaces. Music can create a stimulating atmosphere that encourages customers to linger and make more purchases. Studies have also found that stores that play the right kind of music can increase sales by up to 20%.
Table of contents:
- What music means
- Why is music important
- How to choose the right music
- Importance of background music
What does music mean to you?
If I asked you for a list of things you couldn’t live without, music probably features close to the top. And actually the inability to enjoy music has been classed as a disorder – musical anhedonia. Only 3-5% of the world have it. We actively and passively listen to music in so many aspects of our lives.
From travelling in our cars blasting tunes, walking down the street with our headphones on, hearing background music where we’re eating out or, in a shopping centre, and traditionally (less relevant during the pandemic however) in clubs, at concerts, or music festivals.
Our enjoyment of music is backed up by science. Partially due to the fact that when you listen to music your body releases dopamine; the same pleasure hormone associated with sex and food (so it’s no wonder we’re hooked). Another reason music is important to us, is many of our memories are linked to particular songs; ones that evoke strong emotions.
Why is music important for your business?
When asked by business owners and executives why music is important – I first ask – what does music mean to you?
By getting people to think about all the ways music impacts their lives everyday; they can better understand how music makes customers feel. It puts things into perspective; because we have such a small window to make an impression, and provide an enjoyable experience. The music matters.
Background music is a powerful tool to define the atmosphere of your spaces – in real-time. You can switch up the energy levels, change the flow of people, and ultimately influence customers purchasing behaviour.
The pandemic is forcing businesses to focus on reducing costs and improving efficiencies; which of course is a good thing. But continuing to deliver on experience should still remain of value to your brand. Take opportunities to evolve your business, because your customers are going to seek out the brands that go the extra 100.
Music might seem very trivial in the grand scheme of things, it might be of little concern as an operations, or marketing director. You could be sceptical because you can’t measure the exact impact a song had on your guests purchases.
But trust me, the music you play in your spaces will be remembered as an aspect for your brand’s identity, get it wrong, and you risk damaging your brand.
How do I choose the right background music that helps increase sales?
- Firstly, understand what background music matches your type of business. Restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, spas, retail stores, shopping malls have different goals when it comes to music, and their sound will differ depending on type of cuisine, or whether it’s fast food, fast casual, fine dining, luxury retailers vs the high street, and many more sub-groups.
- This is a basic guide, because your brand’s identity could straddle a restaurant/cafe line, having characteristics that fit both, so it’s important you think about what atmosphere is most appropriate, and select the right background music. For example, in a fine dining setting you probably want your customers to feel comfortable and relaxed.
- Playing slower and softer music such as classical, jazz or high-end lounge can make people act more slowly; in contrast, a fast food setting would probably opt for faster and louder music, where the aim is quick turnover per table.
- You need to have a strategy in place to ensure you aren’t damaging your brand by randomly selecting music, or leaving it up to chance. It’s been scientifically proven that playing the right type of music, at the right time, increases sales.
- A good music selection will evolve with the brand, and also be sensitive to changes throughout the day. When are your busiest times? When do your staff need an energy boost? In quieter times, you wouldn’t want to blast out loud music, but equally you don’t want it to feel eerily empty. There has to be a balance.
Why could background music be even more important now?
In times like these, we’ve learned just how powerful music can be in keeping your customers happy. Our client Hari’s Hairdresser, fed back their experience since the lockdown lift saying “only when a pandemic hits, do you truly realise how important music is to fill the spaces. We work with Altaura, who are hands on and check-in with us regularly. Our spaces sound amazing and our staff and customers love It too.”
We’ve learned our client’s have found it difficult to provide the level of experience guests had been used to before restrictions were put in place. Spaces have to adapt and services need to change. The quickest and easiest way to transform your space is by changing the music.