Shoppers tune in to atmospherics

Whether business owners are operating a restaurant, a retail outlet or even an automotive specialty store, it's important to take an active hand in customer experience management to boost sales and loyalty.

Whether business owners are operating a restaurant, a retail outlet or even an automotive specialty store, it's important to take an active hand in customer experience management to boost sales and loyalty.

This can be done through customer rewards programs, employee training programs or a renewed focus on service. However, many entrepreneurs can overlook the basics of atmosphere and ambiance.

In fact, according to a recent survey from Immedia Pic, shoppers are more tuned in to the sounds around them than ever, the website My Customer reports. The survey found that approximately 75 percent of British shoppers were aware of in-store music, and 40 percent of those consumers will stay longer in a store if the music matches the brand and is appropriate for the environment.

"Music can profoundly affect our mood, emotions and energy levels," Vicky Williamson, Immedia's scientific advisor, told the source. "This new survey demonstrates how similarly important 'background music' is to our shopping experiences. Music is no less powerful just because it is chosen by someone else."

While a store's music may seem like a small thing for companies to hone in on, the survey found that it can even have an effect on whether shoppers become repeat buyers, with 25 percent of respondents saying they would be unlikely to return if they didn't like an outlet's music.

However, entrepreneurs can't just select their favorites song and hope for the best. Wiliamson explains that companies need to analyze their brand or product identity before making a careful selection.

"Capitalizing on the general effects of music will only get you so far in boosting a shopping experience," Williamson added. "Maximizing the positive impact of in-store music requires an understanding of how to match sound and brand."

Sound isn't the only component to building an atmosphere conducive to customer satisfaction and repeated purchase, though. Inc. magazine writes that smells can be just as important, as a good smell can enhance customer experiences and lead them to spend more time in the store or restaurant. Waiting in line or for help may no longer seem like such a burden.

Sensory tools can be even more important during the holiday season when retailers are pulling out all the stops. Perhaps the enticing smell of cinnamon may be what puts a shopper over the top.