Sounds could decide how you spend your money at shopping malls
A mall's soundscape can improve buyers' experience and make them spend more.Updated: Apr 03, 2007, 15:03 IST
Now you may just want to spend all that you have in your wallet listening to the sound around you as experts have been carrying out tests at the Glasgow airport to see how the 'soundscape' can help in improving passengers' experience and make them spend more money in the process.
The experiments are being conducted by BAA and the technique is evolved by Julian Treasure, chairman of strategic sound consultancy,' The Sound Agency'.
Mr Treasure, whose book Sound Business details how sales can be boosted, and productivity lifted by the power of sound, said companies needed to take the noises they made, very seriously.
"Sound affects human beings profoundly. Psychologically, it changes moods and emotions. It changes how effectively we can think and in terms of behaviour it can change what you do, choose and spend", Treasure said.
"The sounds you hear in shops, offices, in cafés are often just the result of how things are. No thought has been put into them. We are trying to encourage business to change that", he said.
As part of the experiment, a mixture of computer generated ambient music and bird sounds was subtly played in departure lounges at Glasgow airport, but in a manner that passengers did not get bored hearing it.
Researchers believe the relaxing effect of the sound encourages more browsing in the shops, and so more spending by the passengers leading to increase in sales in the departure lounge shops by between three and 10 per cent.
"It helped to improve the experience of passengers at the airport because we were providing an appropriate soundscape. There was also a sales benefit. It was not enormous, but it was there," said Charles Byrne, head of sponsorship at BAA.
Dr David Lewis, a consumer psychologist, said more and more businesses were starting to take notice of the importance of sound in their premises.
"They realise that sound is not just background noise. It does affect how people behave. I think sound design will become more important as stores compete with each other", the Scotsman quoted Lewis as saying.
However, the concept of sound is different in different work areas.
For example, working in a noisy office could distract employees so much that it could cut productivity by as much as two-thirds, therefore offices needed to supply quiet areas where people could work.
"What we suggest is that there is a working space, meeting space and quiet space in offices. People can then go and work for as long as they want in complete silence; a bit like a library", Treasure added.