Half of Britain's shoppers have left a store because they were annoyed by the music, a new study has found
A study carried out by Immedia Plc, which develops music strategies for retailers, found that High Street retailers could be inadvertently turning away shoppers because they haven't developed a suitable 'sound' for their brand.
More than 1,000 shoppers were asked both about their attitude to in-store music, and about how music affects them psychologically and emotionally.
Three-quarters of respondents notice the music playing in-store, and of those that do, 40% will stay longer in a shop if they feel the music is well chosen for the environment. The same proportion said they would spend less time there if they feel the music isn't suitable
Half of all shoppers said they have stayed longer in shops because they liked the music.
But more than just leave the shop if the tracks didn't meet their musical taste, a quarter of shoppers said they would be less likely to return to a retailer if they don't like the music it plays.
Immedia CEO Bruno Brookes said the challenging economic environment meant it was important for retailers to optimise every element of a customer's sensory experience.
"Brands currently spend upwards of £25 billion a year on visual point of sale material, according to the Institute of Sales Promotion. In fact, audio is the single most effective way to capture the attention and imagination of people who are on the move inside your shop or restaurant.
"This is supported by numerous scientific studies that demonstrate how an effective music strategy does everything from improve staff morale to enhance the customer experience, to crucially increase sales."
Immedia's scientific advisor Dr Vicky Williamson said "Music can profoundly affect our mood, emotions and energy levels. Studies have shown that we naturally exploit these effects everyday by using music to optimise our state of mind. This new survey demonstrates how similarly important 'background music' is to our shopping experiences. Music is no less powerful just because it is chosen by someone else.
But Williamson warned that in-store music should be chosen with care and attention to the brand or product identity. "Studies have shown that a poor degree of fit between brand and music can result in negative customer feedback, lower sales, and fewer customer referrals.
"Capitalising on the general effects of music will only get you so far in boosting a shopping experience. Maximising the positive impact of in-store music requires an understanding of how to match sound and brand," Williamson added.