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Study: Annoying music drives customers away

Study: Annoying music drives customers away

Half of Britain's shoppers have left a store because they were annoyed by the music, according to a study by Immedia Plc, a company that develops music strategies for retailers.

The study polled more than 1,000 shoppers about their attitudes toward in-store music and about how music affects them psychologically and emotionally. Key results included:

  • 73 percent of respondents noticed the music playing in-store.
  • Out of those who notice in-store music, 40 percent will stay longer in a shop if they feel the music is well chosen for the environment. Conversely, 40 percent will spend less time there if they feel the music isn't suitable.
  • 49 percent of all shoppers said they have stayed longer in shops because they like the music vs 45 percent who don't.
  • Excluding don't knows, half of all shoppers say they left a shop because they didn't like what was playing or because it was annoying.
  • Overall, a quarter of shoppers said they would be less likely to return to a store if they don't like the music it plays

"Brands currently spend upwards of £25 billion a year on visual point of sale material," said Bruno Brookes, CEO of Immedia Plc.

"However, while the retail, hospitality and FMCG industries take great care in thinking about what customers see, nowhere near the same investment goes into optimizing what they hear."

Brooks said audio is the single most effective way to capture the attention and imagination of people who are on the move inside a shop or restaurant.

"It is important to optimize every element of a customer's sensory experience. As a result, we are working with an increasing number of high street names who want the competitive edge that a well thought out music and sound strategy will give them," he said.

Music obviously affects people's moods, emotions and energy levels, according to Immedia's scientific adviser, Vicky Williamson.

"This new survey demonstrates how similarly important 'background music' is to our shopping experiences. Music is no less powerful just because it is chosen by someone else," she said.

She said in-store music should be chosen with care and attention to the brand or product identity.

"Capitalizing on the general effects of music will only get you so far in boosting a shopping experience. Maximizing the positive impact of in-store music requires an understanding of how to match sound and brand," she said.

Immedia today launched a new 'Sound of Your Brand' website at that includes a blog about retail engagement and music psychology, links to research about music in retail and a music-themed social area where consumers are invited to engage with Immedia.

Read more about consumer behavior.


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