The sound in a store needs to strike the correct note. The right music can mean more sales. If a retailer is doing music well, customers will slow their trip around the store, start tapping their toes or do a little dancing (if they think no one’s watching) and possibly even start singing. Think about the experience of shopping in a grocery store. “They’re setting your mood; they’re setting your pace,” says Ted Lawrence, corporate retail category manager for Covington, La.-based PoolCorp.

Music there tends to be the adult contemporary genre, with playlists featuring songs of 40- to 60 beats per minute.

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But the pool industry is different. Very often, the ambient sound is a radio tuned to a station the owner likes.

“That is not necessarily the strategy for the customer who is coming into your store,” Lawrence says. “… The last thing you want is to have an open-air radio station on, and while the customer’s there, all of a sudden, there are commercials for your competitor.”
The store’s soundtrack can be with or without words to engage consumers.

Roger Dooley, author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing (Wiley, 2011), suggests pairing sounds and scents in a pool store. “To go along with the scent that’s evocative of hanging out with friends by the pool, it’s possible that appropriate musical soundtracks might be suggestive of the tropics, Caribbean, beaches and so on ... [providing] further stimulus to shoppers.”

For a small store, that could be as simple as creating a playlist on an iPod and running it through a stereo system.

Overall, Lawrence stresses keeping the musical selection mellow and slower, erring to the lower side of the 40-beats-per-minute benchmark.

“I think if you have a faster beat per minute, what happens is you find you may make that hasty decision, but you’re making a hasty decision and not understanding everything,” he adds. “That’s probably the worst buy, that’s the worst type of customer we want.”