Music is soothing, invigorating, and engaging. It is a uniquely human experience to use music to motivate ourselves, manage our mood, and help us relax.

Business owners have used both background and foreground music for decades to encourage their patrons to stay longer and browse or move quickly so they can feel accomplished.

Specific kinds of music can cause specific kinds of reactions. For example, Christmas music encourages shoppers, during the Christmas season, to spend more money on gifts for friends and family.


When you retail big-ticket items, you can use music to encourage your customers to examine items more closely and make different purchasing decisions.

How Music Impacts Our Shopping Behavior, Including for Big-Ticket Items

There are different parts of music to consider when you want to keep your customers in your store, looking at items, especially when those items may be more expensive.

  • Music volume: Most importantly, the volume of the music in your store must match your brand identity. Overwhelmingly, customers respond best to moderate volumes, so the music does not intrude on their thoughts too much.Younger generations may be more interested in louder music, and older adults are more interested in background music, so consider your store’s demographic. If there is a lot of ambient noise around your store, you may consider volume changes while managing sound quality with a high-quality amplifier and speakers.

    Even when customers like the songs, music that was too loud would, according to customers surveys, cause them to leave – and consider not coming back! When the volume was appropriate, however, customers stayed in the store longer, browsing items they didn’t need. If your store sells higher-priced items like televisions or jewelry, keeping your customers there with music at a good volume can encourage them to look at the item for longer and consider if they wish to purchase it.

  • Music tempo: A song’s tempo refers to how fast or slow it is. As one might expect, fast music encourages higher energy and faster movement while slow music encourages walking more slowly and relaxing into the song. Grocery stores and fast food restaurants may play fast-tempo music to encourage shopper turnover because it does not hurt sales for them.When you sell big-ticket items, you may consider playing slower music. Spending a lot of money can feel stressful, and playing relaxing tunes can help the customer make a big decision and still feel good about the purchase. Faster tempo music was found to make spicy food taste spicier to some restaurant-goers. This enhancement of flavor may encourage them to buy more, and in a high-end restaurant, that may mean more expensive cocktails or wines.

  • Music mode: This aspect of music involves the harmony or melody of a song, which in Western music terms is either the major or minor key. Songs written in the major key tend to feel happy, and songs in the minor key tend to feel sad or angry, depending on their tempo.Matching the mode and tempo is important for your customers. Slow music in a major key was less enjoyable for shoppers than minor-key music with slow pacing. Major-key music with a faster tempo sounds joyful, inspiring happiness in shoppers, so if your brand image works with this type of music, it can greatly help your customers feel good. However, a study found that there was no significant loss in sales when stores played songs in the minor key regardless of tempo.

  • Music genre: This is one aspect of music that can directly influence big-ticket items. For example, classical music played in wine stores was found to encourage shoppers to buy more expensive types of wine even though they did not purchase more bottles. Similarly, diners in restaurants, bars, and cafes bought more alcohol when music was slower in tempo, encouraging them to relax and spend more time on their meal. However, classical or instrumental music may encourage your diners to spend more on fancier items because they perceive big-ticket items to be more intelligent choices.A study of college students in Scotland found that listening to classical music influenced how much the participants perceived luxury items to cost, indicating that they would be willing to spend more on items if the background music was right. Similarly, the study found that listening to country music encouraged the participants to perceive utilitarian items, like razors or pens, as more expensive.

Get Legal Streaming Music for Your Business

Start Your Free Trial

Using This Information to Satisfy Your Customers

Based on what your restaurant or storefront sells, you can use the above information to manage a playlist that encourages your patrons to stay longer, relax, examine the information you have about your big-ticket items, ask questions, and ultimately feel good about what they have bought.

SOURCES