If you visit a wine store that sells both low cost and higher priced wines, stop for a moment and listen to the background music. There is a good chance the music playing will be classical. It should be, anyway. In 1990, researchers from Texas Tech University ran an interesting experiment. The findings illustrate the power of music in marketing.
Over the course of several months the researchers varied the music in a wine store between Top 40 and classical. The music was selected randomly and numerous conditions (e.g. time of day, consumer age etc.) were factored to ensure validity. Here is what they found: Both segments bought the same quantity of wine. However, consumers purchased higher priced wine when listening to classical music. The wine retailer was able to increase its revenue significantly by playing classical music. Incremental cost of doing business: $0.
For example, why do customers buy expensive wine in the presence of classical music? It is because they associate both classical music and high quality wines with class and sophistication. This is a persuasion context. Background music should create the mood you want to elicit; and that mood will help produce the desired consumer behavior.
Science tells us that there is a correct style for each type of shopping experience. Is the best music for your business classical, cool jazz, or adult contemporary etc? Who knows? This is something that must be determined via trial-and-error. What we can say with confidence, however, is that finding the correct sound should positively influence consumer behavior.
- Areni, C. & Kim, D. (1993). The Influence of Background Music on Shopping Behavior: Classical Versus Top-Forty Music in a Wine Store. Advances in Consumer Research Volume. Vol. 20. p. 336-340.
- Allan, D. (2007). Sound Retailing: Music Effects on Shopping Behavior. Bricks and Mortar Shopping in the 21st Century.