Most of us shop more at our favorite store when the background music is on, with good reason. Music that puts us in a good mood gives us a positive feeling toward the products. This, in turn, may make us want to buy. What happens when there’s no music? Just weird silence? How does that affect you as a sales professional? I found out first hand when the music system in our store, Designer Shoe Warehouse, now known as DSW Inc., went down for a week.
Is it really a big deal?
Interesting research has gone into finding out how background music affects the behavior of shoppers. For example, when French music was playing in the background, customers in a wine store purchased more French wine. When the music played was German, customers bought more German wine. ¹(North, Hargreaves, & Mckendrick, 1999).
How do you provide gusto without tunes?
(1) Remember to smile
One of the first things you have to do is to provide a positive atmosphere. That means you have to remember to smile. It doesn’t matter that you have a monster headache. It doesn’t matter that some shock jock pissed you off. It doesn’t matter that some clueless television producer got rid of your favorite character. You have to smile, and you have to mean it. I smiled and engaged my customers. They rewarded me by buying shoes. A few even went to my manager and expressed their appreciation.
(2) Provide the beat for the pace
When you have tunes it’s easier for impulsive shoppers to buy. They may be on the fence about buying their dream shoe. What happens next? The music comes on and some guys start making like John Travolta on Saturday Night Fever. “Yeah, I’m going to get these bad boys,” one man said to me after doing the Travolta thing. He left with a smile on his face and some cool Mercanti Fiorentini shoes. Without the music, you have to keep an energetic pace. The customer needs to see you doing your job with urgency. Do that and they won’t think the place is dead.
(3) Make the customer feel good
Have you ever walked into a store and asked for help? Don’t you hate it when the sales person acts like he or she is doing you a favor just by talking to you? It socks! Well, don’t stink the place up with bad customer service. Your day may seem longer than usual. Still, that doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk.
I’ve always taken background music for granted. In fact, at times I’ve complained at some of the music that was playing. I now know, though, the importance of background music in bringing the customers to the store.
- 1. North, A.C., Hargreaves, D.J., & Mckendrick, J. (1999). The Influence of in-store music on wine selections. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84(2), 271-276.