The Congruency of Music and Scent on Retail Atmospherics

Jan. 28, 2020

One way in which retailers can create an improved shopping experience is by manipulating the instore environment. Store environmental factors such as music and sound, lighting and colour, and aroma help create the sensory impressions that underlie these experiences. Therefore, finding a unique and effective atmospheric design is a primary concern for retailers wanting to create and maintain a competitive advantage.

Studies show that the arousal induced by music and aroma results in increased pleasure levels, which in turn positively influences shopper behavior, including time and money spend, approach behavior, and satisfaction with the shopping experience.

In a retail fashion store focusing on the female youth market, loud music and a pleasant (vanilla) aroma significantly and independently impacted shoppers' pleasure and arousal.

The results revealed that a combination of high volume music and the presence of a vanilla aroma results in an enhancement of pleasure levels, suggesting a congruency effect. This congruency, in turn, results in higher levels of pleasure, and consequently of money and time spent, as well as approach behavior and satisfaction levels for this atmospheric condition.

Having the right mix of music and aroma not only enhances pleasure, but also makes customers stay longer in the store independent of the level of arousal and pleasure, thereby further increasing the positive effects of having the proper mix of atmospheric factors.

On the one hand, the results confirm that aroma and music alone can be used independently to vary arousal levels. However, the findings also indicate that having the right mix of aroma and music is an important additional contributor to pleasure levels and consequently to key outcome variables such as spend and satisfaction. In addition the results suggest that an aroma with loud music facilitates longer stay times independent of mood states. The findings therefore offer retailers practical insights into how to create competitive advantage by customizing the atmosphere in their stores.

Shakespeare Music has been working with Retail Atmospherics since 2012 and has amassed considerable experience and expertise. Please contact us if you would like to see how improving Retail Atmospherics can be used to enhance your own business.

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