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Background Music Strategy

20 Minute Read

How to Use Grocery Store Music to Impact Shopper Behavior


by Ryan Santangelo, Ph.D., President, Dynamic Media

Grocery Store Music

It’s no secret that the right background music can significantly impact shopper behaviorBut did you know that the type of music played in a grocery store can influence the way shoppers make decisions?

A recent study in the Journal of Marketing found that grocery store music can influence how long shoppers stay in the store, how much they spend, and what they purchase. The study also found that certain types of music can affect the emotions of grocery store shoppers.

Happy and upbeat playlists can make shoppers feel more positive and inclined to make impulse purchases. On the other hand, slow and relaxing playlists can make shoppers feel calmer, creating a favorable environment for large or complex purchases.

So what does this mean for supermarket owners and managers? It means that careful consideration of the grocery store soundtrack can pay off in a big way. 

This article will discuss how grocery stores can use the right music to drive sales, enhance the customer experience and set themselves apart from the competition.

Familiar Music Will Increase Sales and Reduce Complaints

Since the grocery shopping experience itself is one of habit and routine, it’s not surprising that research shows that playing familiar grocery store background music creates favorable revenue and customer experience outcomes. It’s also no surprise that the most successful grocery chains use background music as a strategic tool to influence sales and improve customer perception.

Let’s look at how you can put this to work in your market.

Familiar Music and Increased Sales

Music affects our emotions. When we hear the music we know and love, we feel good. And when we feel good, we’re more likely to make impulse purchases.

According to the Journal of Marketing, grocery stores that play familiar music see a 2.5% increase in sales. A different study found that when grocery store shoppers heard familiar songs they liked, they were willing to pay up to 20% more for an item than when they heard less familiar music from various genres or backgrounds.

The takeaway for grocery store owners is to play familiar, popular songs that your shoppers are likely to know and enjoy. Not only will this make your shoppers happy, but it could also lead to a boost in sales.

Familiar Music and Reduced Complaints

In addition to more sales, shoppers who hear familiar songs are less likely to lodge complaints about their grocery store experience. Studies show that listening to familiar music changes how shoppers perceive time during non-shopping tasks like waiting to checkout or waiting to speak to an employee.

The primary study on this played different music to shoppers. The first group listened to unfamiliar, easy-listening songs, while the second group listened to well-known popular music.

The customers listening to the unfamiliar music reported longer wait times and lower satisfaction than those listening to familiar music, even though both groups were waiting for the same amount of time. In other words, the familiar music kept the shoppers distracted as they waited, causing them to perceive shorter wait times and thus report a better shopping experience.

So, if you’re looking to increase sales and reduce complaints, playing familiar grocery store music is an excellent place to start. But what if you want to do more? What if you want to influence their behavior? That’s where you can leverage the power of tempo and mode to influence shop time and encourage impulse purchases.

Grocery Store Music

SiriusXM Music for Business Is Music for Supermarkets Made Easy

SiriusXM Music for Business gives you the chance to craft your perfect grocery store music playlist to fine-tune the shopping experience for your customers.

Our streaming services offer you access to 240+ channels of commercial-free music and over 10,000 Pandora playlists without having to worry about complex licensing laws, aiding in your efforts to keep your customers shopping the way you want them to.

You can even utilize SiriusXM Music for Business’ advanced features like scheduling, overhead messaging and channel blocking for even more control, all for $26.95 per month.

Choose SiriusXM Music for Business for your grocery store background music today.

Music Tempo and Mode Will Influence Shop Time and Encourage Impulse Purchases

You may not think that grocery store music matters all that much, but the tempo of the tunes has a significant impact on consumer shopping behavior. Tempo is the speed at which the music is played and is measured in beats per minute (BPM).

Several studies have shown that playing faster-paced music in grocery stores will increase customers’ shopping pace, causing them to hurry up and finish their shopping trip.

On the other hand, slower-paced music makes shoppers feel more relaxed and willing to browse the store for longer periods, causing higher purchase levels. A 1982 study found that sales volume was 38% higher on days when the slow-tempo playlists were used versus the faster-paced playlists.

Researchers Cain Smith and Cary L. Cooper found that the tempo of grocery store music can impact which products shoppers purchase. When background music was fast-paced, shoppers were more likely to buy impulsive items like candy and cookies. On the other hand, slower-paced music resulted in shoppers buying more healthy items like fruits and vegetables.

So, what does this mean for your grocery store soundtrack? If you want your customers to spend more time in your store (and hopefully buy more items), you should consider playing slower-paced background music. However, if you’re looking to get customers in and out quickly, then faster-paced music may be more beneficial to your bottom line.

Use Tempo and Mode Together

Tempo and mode work together. Where tempo is the speed of the music, mode refers to whether a piece of music is in a major or minor key. Major keys are generally associated with happy, upbeat emotions, while minor keys are associated with sadder, more introspective emotions.

So, what’s the best combination of mode and tempo for grocery store background music?

According to research, grocery stores should play music in a major key at a moderate tempo (around 100 BPM) to encourage shoppers to make impulse purchases. This combination of mode and tempo makes shoppers feel good without overwhelming them with too much stimulus.

Of course, every grocery store is different, so it’s essential to experiment with different types of music to see what works best for your particular store. But if you’re looking for a starting point, aim for a major key at a moderate tempo. Your shoppers (and your sales) will thank you!

Proper Music-Brand Alignment Will Motivate Your Guests

Aligning your grocery store soundtrack to your brand personality will profoundly impact shoppers.

Get it right, and you will create an atmosphere that is inviting and filled with motivated guests. Get it wrong, and customers will be shopping with speed and haste.

Let’s explore what this means for your grocery store and examine tips for how you align the music to your market’s brand.

First, think about the overall feeling you want your grocery store to evoke. Are you aiming for a young hipster vibe or a more traditional grocery store experience? Do you want it to be a place where shoppers can relax and take their time or a place where they can get in and out quickly? Once you nail down your vibe, you can start to curate a grocery store playlist that fits.


If you want your grocery store to be a place of relaxation, you might consider playing classical music or songs with a slower tempo. Also, consider the physical lighting. If you have a lot of natural light, you might want to go with lighter, airier songs. But if your store is dark and cozy, you can get away with more mellow tunes.


If you want your grocery store to be a place of quick transactions, you might consider playing pop music or songs with a faster tempo.


Some grocery stores play classical music in an effort to create a dignified atmosphere where shoppers feel they can take their time browsing the shelves. This can work well for high-end grocery stores or markets selling gourmet foods.


If you’re going for a more traditional feel, adult contemporary or easy listening might be the way to go. Make sure you keep the music familiar for more sales and reduced complaints.


If you’re trying to appeal to a younger crowd, modern pop or alternative genres could be just the thing. Don’t be afraid to mix in some up-and-coming independent artists as well. Your guests will never forget the place they discovered that awesome new song or artist.

Grocery Store Music

Global or Exotic

World music may be used in an attempt to evoke a feeling of exoticism or global citizenship or to highlight the store’s international selection of foods.


And if you really want to stand out from the competition, try incorporating some unexpected genres like blues or jazz – anything that will give your store its own unique personality.

So, there you have it! By taking the time to create a grocery playlist that matches your brand, you’ll be able to create an atmosphere that is inviting and motivating for your guests.

If you’re not sure where to start, SiriusXM Music for Business has a wide variety of grocery store music channels perfect for any brand. Our music specialists will help you find the right music to match your brand, from relaxed to fast, from global to the unexpected.

The Right Volume Will Create the Right Atmosphere

Once you have the soundtrack selected, it’s time to consider how loud or soft you will play the music. Studies show that the optimal volume will promote positive shopper behavior, such as increased browsing time, more purchases and higher customer satisfaction. When selecting volume level, the three main things to consider are atmosphere, customer demographics and acoustics.


The first thing to consider is the overall atmosphere you’re trying to create. If you want patrons to linger and browse, you’ll want a relatively soft music background that isn’t distracting or overwhelming. Lower volumes will cause shoppers to spend more time in your store, and they’ll be less likely to feel rushed or stressed.

But if you want customers to move through the store quickly, you might opt for a louder volume that will keep shoppers moving. Just be careful not to make it too loud – you don’t want customers leaving due to a headache!

Customer Demographics

Second, consider the demographics of your shoppers. If you have a lot of families with young children, they might appreciate softer music that won’t overwhelm their little ones.

On the other hand, if millennials or Gen Zers frequent your grocery store, they might prefer a higher volume with a livelier soundtrack that gets them pumped up and ready to shop.

And finally, while younger shoppers tend to transact better in more exciting environments with higher volume levels, older shoppers generally prefer lower volumes with more subdued music backgrounds.


Finally, take into account the acoustics of your grocery store. If your store has high ceilings or hard surfaces, you’ll want to be careful not to blast music that will create an echo chamber effect. Conversely, if your market is small or has carpeting or lots of soft surfaces, you’ll need to crank up the volume a bit to distribute the sound across the sales floor.

By taking all these factors into account, you can ensure that all the music you play is volume-appropriate and enhances the shopping experience for everyone in your store.

Use Overhead Messaging to Speak to Your Customers When It Matters Most

As a grocery store manager, you are always looking for new ways to reach your customers and influence purchase decisions. One effective way to do this is through overhead messaging. This technology, which is built into the background music platform, allows you to insert custom marketing messages into the music stream that play to customers while they are in your store.

There are several reasons why grocery stores should use overhead messaging to advertise to customers:

  1. Overhead messaging allows you to target specific demographics with tailored messages. For example, you could use overhead messaging to announce a sale on baby food to families with young children or use in-store messaging to promote healthy eating habits to older customers.
  2. These forms of advertising can be highly effective in driving impulse purchases. A customer who hears an announcement for a sale on their favorite cereal is more likely to add it to their cart than if they had seen it displayed on a shelf.
  3. Overhead messaging is a relatively low-cost way for you to reach every customer that walks into your store with your most important messaging.

While perfecting your grocery store playlist is important, you still need your customers to be informed about all the promotional offers, specials and brand details to help them make confident decisions. Overhead messaging can influence shopper behavior right in the last phase of the buying process – whether they have the product in their hand or the shopping cart. Ensure you utilize a grocery store background music service like SiriusXM Business with overhead messaging capabilities.

SiriusXM Music for Business: The Ultimate Grocery Store Music and Messaging Platform

SiriusXM Music for Business is the perfect solution for grocery stores looking to create a more positive shopping experience for their customers. With over 240 stations of commercial-free music and over 10,000 Pandora playlists, there’s something for everyone. Because SiriusXM is a professional business service, you never have to worry about complex licensing laws or ads. Our easy-to-use streaming player makes it easy to find and play the perfect grocery store background music for your store. You can even use SiriusXM Music for Business’ advanced features like scheduling, overhead messaging and channel blocking for even more control, all for $26.95 per month. Learn more about SiriusXM Music for Business today.