By Fareen Khan
Hearing ambient music in public spaces be it apparel outlets, hotel lobbies or even grocery stores is something we’re all accustomed to as consumers, to the point that many of us are not consciously aware of the presence of these tunes. Many would say that this unconscious absorption of melodies by our brain is geared toward steering customer behaviour toward a specific purpose. But what if we told you, in-store background music serves a long list of benefits to the customer experiencing it?
More often than not, when we find ourselves in moments of anxiety and agitation, making good, well informed decisions isn’t our strong point. As patrons of stores, we sometimes find ourselves in less than favourable situations. It could be irritation from taking forever to find a parking spot, common areas of a shopping mall being overly congested or like many of us working folk, the burden of having to run errands like a long list of grocery shopping after working hours. Such anxiety and irritation means an increased heart rate which in turn, influences our brain’s ability to think clearly or to perform tasks with ease.
In a recent study by Deutsches Ärzteblatt International; The Cardiovascular Effect of Musical Genres1, it is concluded that the correct types of music when played in the presence of healthy adults, lowers heart rate and blood pressure subsequently producing a positive impact on both mind and body. In-store background music allows us as customers to calmly make informed decisions of the products we’re about to purchase, potentially evading any future regret once leaving the store’s premises. A calm mind also leads to a consumer being able to carry out healthy comparisons between prices of products, ensuring you’re not burning a hole in your pocket!
Apart from its effects on our heart rate and blood pressure, background music within stores can also positively impact a customer’s memory. Have you perhaps had a wonderful experience with some store-bought sushi and kept telling yourself that you have to buy some for a quick weeknight dinner the next time you pop by the grocery store?
Many of us make mental notes that we eventually do not remember (surprising, huh?). A somewhat magical role of background music or even distinctive jingles are that they help jog customer memories in certain sections of the store if not all parts of the store. The International Journal of Management, Technology and Engineering in its research; The Role of Music in Brand Recall – A Study of Select Two-Wheeler Advertisements2 state that “the contribution of jingles towards commercial recall and retention is significant. Commercial music stays in one’s memory even without their awareness. Thus, it is a good cue to enhance memory and recall.”
While many of us think we have our list making down to a tee, we do tend to miss out important items or tasks required when visiting stores of our choice. Significant brand music or jingles allows our minds to jog memories in order to remind us of things we need to purchase or tasks we need to complete.
Another often unnoticed benefit on in-store background music, is the ability for these background music platforms to be informative toward customers. As shoppers, we tend to sometimes skip physical in-store ads and head straight to the aisle of what we’re looking for. This can sometimes lead to us missing out on important and rewarding promotions offered by a particular brand at any given time. This is where background music platforms usually come into play in actively reminding customers of what they could potentially be missing out on.
Brands are able to do this through advertisements on the in-store background music network, either in the form of voiceovers or jingles. This helps catch the attention of busy customers like ourselves to note the on-going promotions available to us. Not only is this highly informative, but also very well accepted by our bank accounts!
It is safe to say that while the widespread, common belief is that sensory marketing, especially background music is used toward the advantages of retailers, this is in fact not the entire truth in itself. More than ever before, we as a human race are busier, hastier and in a constant rush to get things done which could negatively impact our shopping behaviours. In-store background music helps curb these series of premature shopping decisions by helping us do what many find difficulty doing, and that is to simply…. slow down.
1 The Cardiovascular Effect of Musical Genres; A Randomized Controlled Study on the Effect of Compositions by W. A. Mozart, J. Strauss, and ABBA
2 International Journal of Management, Technology And Engineering; The Role of Music in Brand Recall – A Study of Select Two-Wheeler Advertisements by Sai Prasanna Iyer, Akanksha Aggarwal