Nearly three-quarters of shoppers notice the music playing in stores. How can we get our playlist right to stop customers heading for the exit?

In-store music is more than just aural wallpaper. Most shoppers are very aware of the sounds greeting them when they walk through the door. Out of the 73% of shoppers that do notice music playing in stores, 40% will stay longer in a shop if they feel the music is well chosen for the environment, and 40% will spend less time there if they feel the music isn’t suitable, according to marketing business Immedia Group. Its chief executive Bruno Brookes says the figures highlight the importance of understanding the customer base and creating the right environment to encourage sales.

He says: “Retailers spend a lot of time and money trying to turn shopping into an experience. What shoppers see forms an important part, but in order to create a fully engaging environment, what shoppers hear also needs to be considered.”

Retailers need to think carefully about the “sound of their brand”, says Brookes. He says sound is intrinsically linked to the behaviour of shoppers, affecting everything from the amount of time they spend in-store, to what they are willing to spend.

Choosing music for a retail environment is not easy. Brookes says: “We all have a deeply personal and individual taste in music, so choosing the right playlist can be difficult. Playing a slow piece of folk music may affect shoppers differently than playing a fast-paced hip-hop beat.” Ultimately, he adds, it’s about making customers feel comfortable in their surroundings.