Editor's Pick - July 2023
Store music and customer loyalty to the store: Negative emotion as mediator
If you’re feeling down when shopping, does the in-store music make you feel more cheerful? More importantly, from the point of view of the store owner, if it does make you feel happier, does it increase your loyalty as a customer?
The authors of this study point out that as a store ambient factor, music has been identified as a critical antecedent of consumer behavior, acting in a number of ways ranging from distraction, to causing irritation, or triggering feelings of arousal and pleasure.
They conducted a survey with 405 people shopping in a supermarket in a major metropolitan area in China to examine the connections between store music, customers’ negative emotion, and store loyalty.
Participants assessed their perception of the music being played from the options of finding the music pleasant, appropriate, or bothersome. They then reported any negative emotions they were feeling at the time, including sadness, depression, and disappointment, and finally, whether or not they would shop in that store again.
From their analysis, the authors found that store music did not directly enhance store loyalty. Customers might not show loyalty even if music they perceived as pleasant, or that made them feel happy was playing in the store when they were shopping. However, the results showed that the music did indirectly affect store loyalty through the customers’ negative emotion, in that, negative emotion was the link between the music and a reduction in loyalty.
The conclusion drawn was that for the best result regarding loyalty, store managers should use music that customers find pleasant, or that makes them feel happy to improve the store environment and reduce the in-store negative emotional state of customers. That sounds like a positive move for the store and for the customer – but it raised a few personal questions around how to achieve this.
In our family, the music that I find pleasant and that makes me happy is quite different from the music that has this effect for my husband. He’d be happy shopping in a store that played jazz and blues all day – but that’s not the music that I find uplifting. Thus, the vital question remains of which music is most universally a panacea for sadness or depression, that will make the most customers feel happy and, thus, increase their loyalty?
Dorothy Pilkington | Copyeditor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal
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