How Does Music Influence Us in Clothing Stores?

01 February, 2021
How does music influence us in clothing stores? What does all of this have to do with sensory neuromarketing? Can music make us spend more money? Find out here!

Have you ever walked into a clothing store and had the feeling that you’re in the middle of a nightclub? Well, you’re not alone. The music is rhythmic, funky, and loud. Why? This is related to sensory neuromarketing. But how does music influence us in clothing stores?

Does it make us buy more? In what way? Is the type of music related? What type of music is usually played? Keep reading, as we’ll unravel the mysteries of this increasingly common practice among fashion companies, especially youth fashion.

A woman looking at clothes.

How does music influence us in clothing stores?

According to Sánchez (2015), “Music is part of all the elements of the human and social dimension, sometimes without us being aware of it“. The reality is that music in stores influences our mood, which, in turn, influences buying decisions.

Companies are increasingly relying on sensory marketing (or sensory neuromarketing), which is marketing that directly affects our senses and stimulates the desire to buy. Within this type of marketing, we find techniques aimed at stimulating our sense of hearing, in this case through music.

What’s clear is that music in stores isn’t usually chosen at random. This is because the type of music (for example, fast music) stimulates buying impulsiveness.

But how does music actually influence us in clothing stores? Well, it does so by limiting our self-control, influencing our emotions and state of mind, and, in short, making us buy impulsively.

Only loud music?

Loud lively music isn’t the only type played in clothing stores. Depending on the target audience, the type of music predominant in the store will differ.

That’s why they tend to use loud exciting music for shops that are aiming at the younger public. In contrast, if they’re targeting older generations, they’ll opt for more relaxing, quiet music, which creates a state of calm and relaxation.

Logically, everything will depend on the type of client, the type of clothing, etc. What we mean by all this is that the shop will adapt to the customer to try to boost sales.

“Who hears music, feels his solitude. Peopled at once.”

-Robert Browning-

Saturation of the senses

Loud music overloads our senses and makes us think less when making decisions (in this case, buying). Loud fast music can make us more impulsive when it comes to buying. As our senses are more overloaded, we don’t have as much room to meditate or think. Our attentional cognitive system is saturated and there’s no room for anything else.

In clothing stores specifically, the music is often especially aimed at young people, who tend to be more impulsive than older people. Therefore, in a person who’s already impulsive at heart, music will have even more effects on their decision to buy compulsively.

Music influences each person differently, although there’s always a broad similarity in its effects.

Stimulation of pleasure

Beyond stimulating buying impulsiveness, music also favors a pleasant sensory experience in a store. As a result, we feel good in the shop, and we’re likely to spend more time inside it, which, in turn, increases the odds of us buying something.

Music in stores can improve our mood, dispel worries, and make us feel encouraged to buy (and buy more). In addition to this, we subconsciously associate the clothing store (or any other type of store) with a positive experience. The good mood it produces in us makes us more loyal as customers and we tend to come back.

A couple looking at clothes.

Sensory neuromarketing: art or manipulation?

Now we’ve seen how the type of music influences behavior when buying. Perhaps we’ll enter a store discouraged, indecisive, or distracted, and then the music may help us to connect with an emotion, an impulsive reaction, or with a “need” to buy. As a result, we make the decision to buy.

This is what sensory neuromarketing is all about – a science that studies, feeds, and applies the knowledge of the neurobiology of the senses. To this end, it investigates sensory perception in depth and analyzes how the stimulation of the senses influences buying decisions.

The fact of the matter is that we’re being “manipulated”. There’s nothing illegal about what they’re doing, but being aware of the strategies they use can help us be more cautious when buying things we don’t need.

In other words, we need to learn to be more responsible in our purchasing. Is it art or manipulation? How far do the limits of marketing go? Either way, its power is unquestionable.

  • Chebat, J.C. y Michon, R. (2003). Impact of ambient odors on mall shoppers emotions, cognition, and spending, a test of competitive causal theories. Journal of Business Research, 56: 529-539
  • Morena, A. (2016). Neuromarketing y nuevas estrategias de la mercadotecnia: análisis de la eficiencia publicitaria en la diferenciación de género y la influencia del marketing sensorial y experiencial en la decisión de compra. Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Valencia, J.P. (2016). Influencia de la música publicitaria en la experiencia de compra. Trabajo de grado de pregrado (Publicista). Universidad Católica de Manizales, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Humanidades y Teología.