Watch CBS News

How Does Music Affect Customers?

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) -- When shoppers walk into the Roseville Target, not all of them realize music is playing overhead.  It's been pumping out tunes since the store finished its remodel in October.

"Shows how much we pay attention," joked one longtime Target shopper.

Ten Minnesota Target stores now have the technology to rotate more than 1,000 songs.  Target says it's a way to improve its guests' experience. The company works with a consultant to find what it considers the playful, fun vibe that aligns with their brand. They play artists like Prince, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and Stevie Wonder.

"We want to activate all of the senses," said Kristy Welker, a spokesperson for Target.

So, how does music affect customers?  The research shows it can happen in a numbers of ways, even when shoppers aren't aware of it.

"The more background, people understand it's a background music, they more they feel like, 'Hey, I'm more relaxed,'" said Wayne Mueller, past director of the Institute of Research in Marketing at the U of M's Carlson School of Management.

Studies have shown the music's tempo matters. People generally move more slowly when listening to slower songs.  In some cases, this can lead to higher sales.

Target says it doesn't know yet if its music is affecting how much people buy.

"We hope it makes them linger a little longer and shop a little more," said Welker.

Music genre can also make a difference. One study in a wine store showed classical music can encourage people to buy more, but it can also make them think the store is more expensive.

In another wine shop study, people bought more French wine when they listened to French music. The same thing happened with German music and German wine. In this research, some customers weren't even aware of what they were listening to in the store.

Volume also matters.  There's a reason Target's music is quieter than a store like Abercrombie & Fitch, where the target customer is much younger.

"That's a careful balance, so guests can hear it, but it's not a distraction," said Welker.

Target hopes to expands its music to 180 stores nationwide by the end of 2017.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.