Sound can be one of the most emotive of the human senses, just hearing a few notes of a song or jingle can instantly take you to somewhere else. Whether it be the tropical sounds of a steel band whisking you away to a Caribbean island or the sound of bells making it feel like Christmas in July.
As a marketing team, the psychology of marketing and customer behaviour is something that we are hugely interested in. So, when we started to look at the Aura range and the effect that stimulus on the senses has to shopper behaviour it was a fascinating path.
Over the last 40 years there has been numerous studies into the use of music in the retail environment, most of which have been centred around the permanent use of background music, its tempo, volume and genre. For example, in 1982, Milliman et al. conducted a study in a New York City grocery store investigating the effect of music tempo on shoppers’ buying behaviours. The experimental design was simple but the results were insightful: playing slow music led to A) significantly more time spent in the store and B) a significant increase (32%) in gross product sales when compared to behaviour when fast music was playing. This effect can be explained by the PAD model (pleasure-arousal-dominance (PAD). At its most basic level, this model posits that an environment can alter an individual’s mood and therefore behaviour by altering levels of pleasure, arousal and/or dominance through different channels): fast music leads to high levels of arousal which, in turn, leads to moving at a faster pace through the store. Conversely, slow tempo music prevents these high levels of arousal and slows down the pace at which shoppers move, leading to an increase in items purchased.
In a Psychology Today article, Emily Anthes writes "Shoppers make more impulsive purchases when they're overstimulated. Loud volume leads to sensory overload, which weakens self-control."
So how can we translate this to the use of sound in the temporary display market? Well we have seen from the insight and research mentioned above that the use of sound can trigger arousal and disruption and alter the customers state of mind. With this information, we can start to build a picture of how shoppers might react to our displays and how we can make the most of the research in securing a winning formula.
With a constant source of sound, it’s easy to tune out to it and no longer hear what is playing, but when the volume, or the tone or the frequency changes, your brain kicks back in with renewed interest which leads us to look at that moment that you hear the sound for the first time and the disruption that it causes to the human brain.
So if your music or sound isn’t playing constantly what does that leave you with when designing a display maximising the use of sound on the senses?
Motion control devices are amongst from the most effective at disrupting the shoppers path. Utilising this technology, the impact of short bursts of sound can be used to increase shopper interest and dwell time around the display. As we have already covered, picking the right sounds can change the shopper’s mood and therefore their decision making.
Not only can the motion controlled devices create an impactful display but they are longer lasting, more portable, and therefore more economical.
Adding the interactivity of a push button within your display adds another interactive dimension and a way for the customer to feel that they are part of the brand experience.
Our push button units are the same lightweight, compact, and economical design as our motion controlled devices, just with the addition of a button.
Whether you are a looking at seasonal campaign or a longer running fixture in store, we feel that the research is definitely in favour of utilising the sense of sound in your display. If you want to explore the options any further then why not contact our AURA expert Mark O’Hara.