Improve your Business with Congruent Music

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1 Improve your Business with Congruent Music Sami Selmi, PhD in Marketing and Psychology, University of South Brittany France, Assistant at the Faculty of Economics and Management of Sfax, Tunisia. Abstract Several studies attest to the influence of background music on consumer behaviour in a retail environment. However, few studies have tested the degree of congruence between the music played in the store and the type of goods and services offered. An experiment was carried out in a cybercafé where Rap music (congruence condition), Folklore music (non-congruence condition) and no music (control condition) have been released. The results show that the mean amount of money spent was significantly higher, and more customers intend to recommend and come back another time when music is Rap. Key Words: Music, Congruence, Consumer Behavior, Cybercafé 1

2 1. Introduction International Conference on Marketing and Consumer Psychology If early research on the influence of music date back 40 years, researches had tested its effect on purchasing behaviour are relatively recent and are limited to the context of the store. The most often manipulated music features were the tempo (Milliman, ; Rieunier, 2000); and volume (Cain-Smith & Curnow, 1966; Kellaris & Kent, 1992; Stratton, 1992). However, the type of music, also, has positive impacts on consumers (Ramos, 1993; Areni & Kim, 1993; North, Hargraves & McKendrick, 1999; Sibéril, 1994; Jacob, 2007; Gegerishte et al., 2009). People spend more time in the store and more money when the music matches their musical tastes (Yalch & Spangenberg, 1993; Herrington, 1993). Customers spend more money in a store when played music is congruent with the type of goods (Sibéril 1994; Areni & Kim, 1993; Gueguen, Jacob, Leghorel & Selmi, 2009); and music style influences the pleasure felt by the customer against the atmosphere of the store (Sibéril, 1994; North & Hargreaves, 1996). 2. Literature Review The relationship between music and consumer behaviour is something complex. It is the right or misuse of this relationship that will determine the success of the sound communication strategy of the store. The notion that music and context are associated is supported by an empirical evaluation by North, Hargreaves and McKendrick (1999). These authors use the term congruence to test the effect of background music on consumer behaviour. Background music is considered congruent with a product if rational or symbolic information is connected with the product sale. For example, marine songs must be appropriate to sell seafood, classical music should be appropriate to sell prestigious wine. It is necessary, therefore, to present the main studies on the effect of congruency, namely the experience of North, Hargreaves & McKendrick (1999) in a supermarket; the study of Hume, Dodd & Grigg (2003), in a wine shop; Writz Mattila (2001) in a store and the experience of Gueguen, Jacob, Boulbry & Selmi (2009) in a flower shop. In the experiment of North, Hargreaves and McKendrick (1999), music influences product selected by the client: a French music led more favorably to buy French wine, while German music is more favorably predisposed to purchase the German wine. Gueguen, Jacob, Boulbry & Selmi (2009), have introduced a control condition with pop music or romantic music. They worked on the assumption that the flowers are usually associated with love and affection and the love songs or romantic music will increase the level of these sensations, therefore clients pay more money to buy flowers when romantic music and love songs are broadcast then pop music or no music is played. The comparison between the three types of music clearly shows 2

3 that romantic music has a positive effect on the amount spent by customers. No difference between the amounts spent when the music is pop or absent. Apparently, despite the contradictions or lack of control group, the music, when chosen in a relevant way, has a generally positive impact on customer behavior. The understanding of the music-purchasing behaviour link must consider, therefore, three moderating variables: congruence with the musical tastes; congruence with the image of the store and the stimulation level desired by customers. However, the type of music led to perceive time differently (Ramos, 1993). We must therefore make sure before handling the congruence of music style with the product and with the tastes of consumers (Guéguen et al., 2009). 3. Methodology To study the effect of congruence between the music style and type of products on customer behaviour from the point of sale, we will compare the reactions of customers of a cybercafé, with and without music, manipulating each time the style of music (Rap/Folklore/Silence) and introducing a nuisance situation (broken connection). We hypothesized that music, congruent with the product and the context, positively influences customer behavior and significantly increases the amount spent, the intention to recommend and want to come back another time to the cybercafé. Our choice is motivated by the fact that, to our knowledge, no research on this area and in this context, was made on the musical congruence. It is necessary, therefore, to continue the investigations on the influence of music on customer behavior by addressing the original contexts in order to generalize the findings. Subjects were mostly young people aged between years. This age group is the most sensitive to music and more connected to the Internet (INS Report, 2011). It is not necessary to have a great knowledge on the Internet to participate in our experiment, but just the basics. The final sample consisted of 210 participants, including 109 women and 101 men with an average age of 21 years. The cybercafé, in which we conducted our experience, is called Soft Café. It has two large rooms separated by a partition, one for the Internet connection and the other as refreshment. Clients of Soft Café are mostly students who come several times a week to connecting to Internet and monitoring political and economic news, using social networks. A first questionnaire was administered to 35 customers aged years to determine the most cited genres of music, and then a second questionnaire submitted to 44 clients to find out the most congruent kinds of music with the context of cybercafé. We had two kinds of music (Rap and Folklore) much recognized but extremely divergent in congruence. It would also introduce a condition of no music to adequately assess the effect of it alone. To ensure good distribution of music throughout the room, we used a computer 3

4 and multiple speakers connected to an amplifier located around the cybercafé. We also used the Dolby technique that allows a constant flow of sound in the room experience. The music was played continuously without stopping for two hours to resume a song around. The experimental design of this experiment is 6 (3 X 2) terms (Table 1): Table 1: Experimental Design Silence Rap Folklore Total Connected Not connected Total Helmets and screen's clock have been removed, as not, to influence customer responses. Just ready to checkout, the customer completes a one-page questionnaire that takes on average 3 minutes. 4. Results and Discussion The main hypothesis of our research is to show the existence of a positive link between the diffusion of a congruent music and the responses of customers of a cybercafé. To do this, a MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance) was done on all dependent variables and the evaluation of the atmosphere and an ANOVA (Uni-variate analysis of variance) is performed for each variable and supplemented by LSD comparison tests. The results were highly significant (F = 20,781 p <0.001), showing that the music has a positive effect on the customer's behavior. In addition, the effect of music can not be considered solely in terms of presence / absence of music in the cyber cafe with which the experiment took place. There is a strong link between the type of music (silence folklore vs vs rap) and customer responses. This strong relationship is confirmed by the result of the ETA² indicating that 79.8% of the variance of the dependent variable is explained by the type of music. Table 2: ANOVA of Influence of Type of Music Rap N = 70 Folklore N = 70 Silence N = 70 F P Desire to return again (1.193) (1.529) (1.384) Intention to (1.306) (1.477) (3.855) recommend Amount of money (1.002) (0.875) (1.034) The review of the variance shows that the type of music (Rap vs Folklore vs silence) positively influences the desire to return again to the cyber café (F = 21,552; p <0.001), intents to recommend the cyber café to a friend (F = 17,246; p <0.001) and the amount of money spent (F = 5.193; p = 0.006). (Table 2) LSD multiple comparison tests were required to identify the effect of each type of music on each dependent variable. The following table summary all the results of LSD tests 4

5 obtained by comparing the effect of music congruent to incongruent music or no music as a control situation (Table 3). Type of music Table 3 : LSD multiple comparaison tests (Rap vs Folklore vs Silence) Desire to return again Intention to recommend Rap vs Folklore Sig Sig Non sig Rap vs Silence Sig Sig Sig Silence vs Folklore Non sig Non sig Non sig Amount of money spent Examination of the post hoc tests (LSD multiple comparison test) confirms the effect of congruent music (Rap) relative to the incongruent music (Folk) and silence and a lack of effect between the control position and incongruent music for the majority of the dependent variables. 5. Conclusion and Recommendations Our hypothesis is supported by the results. Music exerted a positive effect on the amount of money spent by the customers, the intention to recommend and want to come back another time to the cybercafé. However, this effect of music cannot be considered only in terms of presence versus absence of music in the cyber café where the present experiment was carried out. In our experiment, only one type of music that was played influenced customer behaviour. When rap music was played, customers spent more money than when no music was played or when folklore music was played and, in this experiment, no difference was found in the amount of money spent by customers when pop music was used as background So it cannot be that customers spent less money in the cyber café when they heard folklore music than when they heard rap music because folklore music had a negative effect on them, since they also spent less money when no music was playing; it must be that the rap music influenced them. These results suggest that background music in itself does not encourage customers to spend more money; there has to be congruence between the music played and the products on offer. This confirms the results of North, Hargreaves, and McKendrick (1999) and Vida, Obadia, and Kunz (2007). If the background music is clearly associated with the context, the retail image or the product to be sold, customers are likely to respond more favourably. Future studies could explore this concept of congruence further. References Alpert J. I., Alpert M. I., 1991, Contributions From A Musical Perspective on Advertising and Consumer Behaviour, Advances in Consumer Research, 18, n 2, Areni C. S., Kim D., 1993, The Influence of Background Music on Shopping Behaviour: Classical versus Top-Forty Music in a Wine Store, Advances in Consumer Research, 20, Caldwell, C., Hibbert, S., 1999, Play that one again: The effect of music tempo on consumer behaviour in a restaurant. European Advances in Consumer Research, 4,

6 Gorn G. J., 1982, The effects of music in advertising on choice behaviour: a classical conditioning approach, Journal of Marketing, 46, n 1, Guéguen N., Jacob C., Lourel M. and Le Guellec H., 2007, Effect of background music on consumer s behavior in an open-air market, European Journal of Scientific Research, 16(2), Guéguen N., Jacob C., Boulbry G. and Selmi S., 2009, 'Love is in the air': congruence between background music and goods in a florist, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer research, 19, No. 1, February 2009, Holbrook M. B., Schindler R. M., 1994, Age, Sex, and Attitude toward the Past as Predictors of Consumers' Aesthetic Tastes for Cultural Products, Journal of Marketing Research, 31, n 4, Kellaris J. J., Kent R. J., 1992, The influence of Music on Consumer's Temporal Perceptions: Does Time Fly When You're Having Fun?, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 1, n 4, Milliman R. E., 1982, Using Background Music to Affect the Behaviour of Supermarket Shoppers, Journal of Marketing, 46, Milliman R. E., 1986, The influence of Background Music on the Behaviour of Restaurant Patrons, Journal of Consumer Research, 13, n 2, North, A. C., Hargreaves, D.J. et McKendrick, J., 1999, The influence of in-store music on wine selections, Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, Rieunier S., 1998, L'influence de la musique d'ambiance sur le comportement des consommateurs sur le lieu de vente, thèse de doctorat en sciences de gestion, centre DMSP, université de Paris IX Dauphine. Ramos, L., 1993, The effects of on-hold telephone music on the number of premature disconnections to a statewide protective services abuse hot line. Journal of Music Therapy, 30, Smith P. C., Curnow R., 1966, Arousal Hypothesis and the Effect of Music on Purchasing Behaviour, Journal of Applied Psychology, 50, n 3, Stratton, V., 1992, Influence of music and socializing on perceived stress while waiting. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 75, 334. Tom G., 1990, Marketing With Music, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 7, n 3, pp Vida, I., C. Obadia, and M. Kunz, The effects of background music on consumer responses in a high end supermarket. International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 17, Wilson S., 2003, The effect of music on perceived atmosphere and purchase intentions in a restaurant, Psychology of Music, 31, Yalch R., Spangenberg E., 1993, Using store music for retail zone: a field experiment, Advances in Consumer Research, 20,

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