Shopper Engagement
In-Store Audio: How Much Do Pace and Tempo Actually Matter?
Picture this scenario: a man walks into an upscale suit boutique looking for a new tuxedo for an upcoming formal charity event. The displays are perfect. A subdued yet elegant…
September 21, 2017

Picture this scenario: a man walks into an upscale suit boutique looking for a new tuxedo for an upcoming formal charity event. The displays are perfect. A subdued yet elegant and masculine smell wafts through the air. And the music is screaming heavy metal.

Uh-oh. Something isn’t right here.

To create just the right in-store atmosphere, businesses should use everything at their disposal. From the carefully designed displays to making sure the store smells just right, a business owner can look around and feel as though they have done everything in their power to draw shoppers in and encourage them to shop. But a misstep on music, like in the above example, can bring the entire thing crashing down.

But selecting the right genre of music is only part of the puzzle. Business or retail owners should also consider the impact certain aspects of the music can have on shoppers. Take, for example, tempo and pace. When looking to control the flow and pace of the store, in-store audio can have a major impact.

When the tempo of a song picks up, the natural inclination of a person is to speed up. The inverse is also true—the natural inclination individuals have when the pace of music slows is to slow down. Think about being at a wedding reception. It’s likely the happy couple wouldn’t begin a slow waltz during “Shout” by the Isley Brothers. Those store owners who know the impact of music on shoppers can use that power to better control the pace and flow of their stores. A customized musical soundtrack—paired with the right in-store announcements—can influence customer’s in-store movements and be a critical tool to improve traffic flow and, ultimately, improve the bottom line.

How Does Music Impact Customers?

There has been study after study conducted to learn why people enjoy listening to music. For example, one study concluded that people listen to music to regulate arousal and mood, to achieve self-awareness, and as an expression of social relatedness.

Specifically when it comes to in-store music’s impact on shoppers, 63% of small retailers agree that playing music encourages customers to spend longer in-store. 72% of people who like music in-store say that a shop playing music is more inviting and 76% of small business owners believe they can positively influence the behavior of customers through music.

When it comes to using music to positively influence the flow of traffic, however, it goes beyond just this basic explanation of stimulation to HOW tempo and pace can impact the behavior of shoppers.

Let’s Talk Tempo

As noted previously, the natural inclination to hearing a fast tempo tune is to increase speed, creating a greater sense of urgency. For business owners, that is particularly important to note. Play a song with too fast of a tempo and customers are rushing through the aisles, potentially missing important items and leaving without a purchase. And yet, if the tempo is too slow? Customers could stick around for much longer than desired, taking up space at tables or in other areas of the business.

Creating a specially curated playlist that features songs of a specific pace at a certain time of day can either keep customers moving about the business at an efficient pace during higher traffic times. For a family restaurant, the dinner hour is likely not when an owner wants customers lingering at the table long after the meal is finished, so keeping the music upbeat is usually a good idea.

On the other hand, carefully selected music with a slower pace can help to slow customers down. This can be of particular importance if the store has higher ticket items that may require a little more thought and decision-making.

While the preferred genre of the target customer should be the first thing businesses consider, looking at the various times of the day (a term called “dayparting” which we examined in a previous post) can help to improve business through the pacing and tempo of their in-store audio.

The Answer? Very.

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, pace and tempo are extremely important, particularly when it comes to crafting a soundtrack to support the flow for any business. Controlling the way customers or potential customers experience a space is critical to the sales, and thereby the success, of a business. Music tempo and pace can be an easy and efficient way to do that. By using a custom designed in-store playlist, businesses can control flow through a vehicle they likely already have today—in-store speakers.

Interested in learning more? Request a demo of Vibenomics today and learn how you can start creating on-brand music and messaging for your in-store customers.

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