In What Ways Does the Genre of Music Influence Shopping Behaviour in Retail Stores?
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Background music in retail settings is the subject of much academic enquiry (Garlin & Owen, 2006). Music is one form of sound that can be used to create an atmosphere that visitors will find pleasant and welcoming. Several research studies have been conducted on the atmospheric effects of music and how they affect shopper behaviour (Collins, 2003). Music, that falls under the ambience category of atmospheric effects, is “a powerful emotional stimulus and an efficient and effective means for triggering moods and shaping retail experience” (Petruzzellis, Chebat & Palumbo, 2014, p. 38). Several empirical studies have been conducted on the immediate effects of background music. Garlin and Owen (2006) conducted a meta-analytic review of the effects of background music in retail settings. This research follows the model of Garlin and Owen (2006) and focusses on two of the five categories from the dependent variables identified by the researchers, that is, financial returns and temporal effects. The research assists in understanding how shopping behaviour such as time spent in the store, dollars spent, and the number of items purchased can be affected by the genre of music playing as background music within a retail setting. Thus, two research questions were developed based on the research gaps identified: RQ1 – Does the genre of music impact on shopping behaviour? RQ2 – Does congruence between the retail environment and the genre of music impact shopping behaviour (temporal effects and financial returns)? Quantitative research methods were chosen for this study: an experimental design with observational measures. Data collection occurred via direct observation. The research was conducted by undertaking two in-store direct, participant observations – one in a delicatessen (health / organic food) store and another in a liquor store, both in the Auckland region. Observations took place within set allocation time frames and a suitable location within each store. On one occasion, in each store, classical jazz music was played, and on another occasion, popular music was played. The frequency of product purchase during the set times was recorded, as well as the day and time of the purchase. An analysis of the two store visits followed the same procedure for each consecutive visit in order to facilitate comparisons within the findings. During both store observations, the findings showed that when popular music was played, the sales figures (relating to the financial returns variable) were lower than when classical jazz music was played. However, no significant difference was found in terms of time spent in store and the type of products purchased. Some congruency effect was observed, in that the classical jazz music genre was associated with an increase of wine, but not beer sales.