Creating an Excellent Atmosphere for Customers

Customers love shopping in stores. When given a choice, 46 percent of people would rather shop in person than online, and 26 percent enjoy the overall experience of shopping in a store. Are you making your atmosphere pleasant for these shoppers?

Creating an excellent atmosphere for customers means the following:

  • Matching your brand to the experience
  • Optimizing your store layout
  • Playing the perfect music

Let's tease out these ideas, so you can create an experience your shoppers will never forget.

Support Your Brand Personality

What can people tell about your brand when they walk into your shop? You can control that critical first impression if you understand your brand personality.

Brand personality is an industry term describing the human characteristics attributed to a brand based on the product, marketing images, retail atmosphere, online presence, and more. It is a framework that helps companies understand and subsequently shape how potential customers feel about the product.

These are the five main types of brand personality:

  1. Excitement
  2. Sincerity
  3. Ruggedness
  4. Competence
  5. Sophistication

People are more likely to purchase a brand they believe reflects their personality. For example, men tend to buy items that invoke ruggedness and competence, while women may aim for things that reflect sincerity or sophistication.

In every decision you make about your atmosphere, keep your brand in mind. Each choice should help consumers understand what you stand for and why they should buy from you.

Create the Perfect Layout

Once you have landed on your brand’s personality, you can begin to design your store’s layout.

These are some general rules for a good store layout:

  • Maintain a high degree of cleanliness, including reducing visual clutter.
  • Keep a clear path that winds through different areas of similar products, encouraging people to dwell over related items they may wish to purchase.
  • Make sure that the checkout counter and knowledgeable sales staff are easy to find and well trained.

Let's dig a little deeper and help you really wow your customers.


Putting your products on display is the number one reason anyone should start a retail store. Doing so artfully (placing them in a path that allows customers to see everything you have and arranging them, so groups of items are near related items) is the foundation to making a good in-store display.

However, minimalism is important. Too many things on a shelf can lead to clutter, disorganization, and even a feeling like your store is unclean or unkempt. This doesn’t work for anyone’s brand personality.

Displays incorporating interactive elements are becoming trendy, but these can be too busy. If you offer homemade soaps, for example, a bright screen from a large tablet with information about your product may be visually intrusive, while a screen in a store that sells video games is not out of place.

Furniture & Fixtures

Shelves, display stools, counters, light fixtures, and furniture can all enhance or detract from your store’s atmosphere. For example, if your brand’s personality is rugged, you can use dark wood and metal furniture throughout the store to enhance that image.

In contrast, if you use a lot of glass and gold accents, your store may be perceived as sophisticated while your brand is perceived as rugged. That dissonance may not work for shoppers.


Of course, customers need to see the products, but lighting can have a deeper psychological impact than just keeping everything visible. Bright lights can energize people, but if they’re too bright, they can hurt customers’ eyes. Dimmer light can create a feeling of calm, like a home, but it can also make people sleepy and make it harder to see product details.

Good lighting can make your store feel larger if you have a small retail space. Bad lighting can make your store feel dirty, grim, or exhausting.

Colors & Textures

Color preference is largely individual, but there is some psychology to color and texture that works across the board. Yellow may be a happy color, but too much of it or the wrong shade can turn off your customer base even though they expect your brand personality to be exciting. Textured metal can enhance your brand personality for ruggedness, but textures that go literally against the grain of your brand can feel like mental static.


Although smell creates an emotional connection, some shoppers may be allergic to the perfume or sensitive to scents in general.

Service & Staff

Knowledgeable and friendly staff members are crucial to an enjoyable shopping experience, especially in stores with complicated items like electronics that can be expensive. It is important to ensure the following:

  • Staff members are easy to find and well trained.
  • Staff doesn't loom over customers or appear too intrusive when asking if customers need help.
  • Staffing levels ensure there aren't too many or too few helpers.
  • Service is quick and friendly, as wait times are typically perceived negatively.

How to Play Music in Your Store

Music is another atmosphere and ambiance tool you can put to good use. Getting started is relatively easy.

Find the Right Equipment

A receiver pulls music into your shop, and speakers push it out again. It's tempting to push your new tools to the limit, but it's important to keep any sound at a reasonable level. You want customers to hear you and one another, so don't drown them in sound.

Craft the Perfect Playlist

Simple background tracks can enhance your customers’ moods, pace, and positive feeling about your brand. The wrong music, however, can make them never come in again.

Focusing on background music that reflects your brand personality and your target demographic’s preferences can help you find songs for the perfect playlist.

Some demographic groups prefer instrumental music in the background, while others prefer more intense music in the foreground. Some people want to relax into the shopping experience, so slower-tempo music works well for them. Others want to move quickly through the store, find what they need, and get out in 5 minutes or less, so they want faster music.

Finding music associated with your brand personality is key. Understanding your customer base’s musical preferences will help you create the perfect sonic experience for them.

Work With a Talented Partner

You need music for your store, but are you getting these songs legally? Most business owners can't simply plug in a computer or turn on the radio to entertain their customers. You must work with a company that manages music copyright law.

At Cloud Cover Music, we've contracted with some of the largest brands and artists in the business. If you've heard a song that's perfect for your brand, we probably have that song ready for you to play — without worries about a lawsuit.

We also offer dashboards and metrics, so you can ensure your music is really working for your community. Contact us to get started.

Music & Atmosphere in Your Store FAQs

What type of music encourages shopping?

It depends. The best music for your shoppers will closely match your brand. If you're creating a luxury experience, you might stick with classical tones. But if you're hip and edgy, rap might work best.

Think hard about what your customers will like, and how it might sync with your brand, and you'll find the perfect mix.

How do I choose the right music for my retail store?

Start by thinking hard about your brand. What words would you use to describe it? How do you want your customers to feel? Then, move into genres. What musical genre also could be described with the terms you've chosen for your brand?

Remember that you're not required to stick with the playlist you launch. Ask your customers and staff for feedback, and make adjustments as needed. You'll soon find the mix that's just right.


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