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Music enhances shopping experience

Music can be an important part of the customer experience for small businesses, a Spotify study recently highlighted.

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

People shop at a record store.

Sean Benesh / Unsplash

Background music may not be the first marketing tool that comes to most people’s minds, but it can play an important role in setting the tone inside a store — serving as a way to connect with shoppers, inspire purchases and drive word of mouth marketing.

Some 93% of Americans shop at local small businesses. Music can have a strong influence on store experiences, something Spotify recently highlighted through a study with The Harris Poll amid National Small Business Week

More than 70% of respondents said they’re more likely to shop at stores that play music they enjoy, and 63% are more likely to come back to local stores that play music. The type of music also matters: Oldies, pop, rock and country topped the list of popular genres. Type of music preferences do vary by gender with men preferring to shop while listening to rock, Blues and bluegrass. Women prefer oldies, pop and R&B while they shop in physical stores.

The survey also found that 67% of respondents agree that background music incentivizes them to make purchases. 

“This research reinforces how much audio impacts people’s experiences and perceptions of the small businesses they know and love,” said Spotify’s Rochelle Sanchirico said in an email.

Music builds connections

When local businesses play nostalgic music, the study found that it makes 72% of Americans feel more connected to the brand. 

Half of shoppers say the type of music played influences their perception of how “cool” a small business is, and more shoppers between the ages of 18 to 54 agreed with that statement than those who are older.

The value of music goes well beyond being background noise for shoppers in physical stores. Music can also be a part of the customer experience. Sixty-three percent of people say they enjoy it when they discover new music in a store. When shoppers tell their friends about a song they heard in a store, this can also create word of mouth marketing. 

Music can boost brand awareness

The research found shoppers are receptive to engaging with small businesses and their brand beyond simply enjoying music as part of their store experience. 

Small businesses could share curated playlists of the music they feature in their brick-and-mortar shops, given that 60% of respondents said they wanted to access such playlists. The same percentage said they would download such playlists if they were given a QR code by local businesses. Acting as music curators, business owners may the potential to boost customer interactions and boost customer expectations.

Our take

It’s clear from the research that music adds an important dimension to the shopping experience, enhancing the connection between the local business and their customers. 

The fact that so many would like to be able to listen to curated playlists from their favorite small businesses gives those retailers and brands an opportunity to extend an enjoyable in-store experience into a digital, always-on connection. 

The shareability of that digital music experience also could encourage local shopping fans to spread love for their favorite small businesses through word of mouth marketing.

Even stores that don’t have a physical presence can consider how to use music to deliver their e-commerce experience. It can be the background music of a retail site, a digital spot or a social media post. Wherever there’s an opportunity, music can become part of the customer journey. Music presents a sensory opportunity to increase customer interactions and establish deeper connection with customers.

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