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The Effects of Background Music on Consumer Responses in a High-end Supermarket


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This study examines the effects of in-store background music valence (liking) and music fit with the overall store image on consumer evaluative and behavioural responses in the context of a high-end supermarket chain. Based on the previous body of work, a conceptual model is developed to examine music valence on customer appraisal of store offering and personnel, and on the length of shopping time and the value of purchase. The influence of the perceived music fit with the overall store image on shopping time is also assessed in the model. The hypothesized relationships are examined via covariance analysis using store-intercept consumer data. Implications of the structural analyses results for management of retail store brands and for future research on music as an element of store atmospherics are discussed.
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The International Review of Retail,
Distribution and Consumer Research
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The Effects of Background Music on Consumer
Responses in a High-end Supermarket
Irena Vida a; Claude Obadia b; Michelle Kunz c
aUniversity of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
bADVANCIA, Graduate School of Entrepreneurship, Paris, France
cMorehead State University, Morehead, USA
Online Publication Date: 01 December 2007
To cite this Article: Vida, Irena, Obadia, Claude and Kunz, Michelle (2007) 'The
Effects of Background Music on Consumer Responses in a High-end Supermarket',
The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 17:5, 469 -
To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/09593960701631532
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The Effects of Background Music on
Consumer Responses in a High-end
*University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, **ADVANCIA, Graduate School of Entrepreneurship,
Paris, France,
Morehead State University, Morehead, USA
ABSTRACT This study examines the effects of in-store background music valence (liking) and
music fit with the overall store image on consumer evaluative and behavioural responses in the
context of a high-end supermarket chain. Based on the previous body of work, a conceptual model
is developed to examine music valence on customer appraisal of store offering and personnel, and
on the length of shopping time and the value of purchase. The influence of the perceived music fit
with the overall store image on shopping time is also assessed in the model. The hypothesized re-
lationships are examined via covariance analysis using store-intercept consumer data. Implica-
tions of the structural analyses results for management of retail store brands and for future
research on music as an element of store atmospherics are discussed.
KEY WORDS: Atmospherics, music valence, store image, appraisal of retail offering, appraisal
of sales personnel
Service and retailing organizations increasingly recognize that their outlets provide a
powerful medium to build their firms’ image, increase customer and staff satisfaction
and lead to greater productivity. While Philip Kotler was the first to introduce the
term ‘atmospherics’ in the context of retailing, the definition of atmospherics has
later been expanded to refer to ‘. . . the tailoring of the designed environment to
enhance the likelihood of desired effects or outcomes’ (Greenland and McGoldrick,
1994: 2). Various elements and forms of atmospherics such as lighting, colours,
music, scents, and visual communications are employed by retailers to induce
emotions in shoppers and to influence shopping behaviour (Machleit and Mantel,
2001; Levy and Weitz, 2004). In the past decade, music in particular has become a
major element in the design of atmospherics, and one of the most studied ‘general
interior cues’ (Turley and Milliman, 2000; Garlin and Owen, 2006). Music appears to
be a central strategic lever in store atmospherics because of its proven effects on
Correspondence Address: Irena Vida, Associate Professor & Department Chair, University of Ljubljana,
Faculty of Economics, Department of Marketing, Kardeljeva plos
cad 17, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Tel.: þ386-1-561-8291; Fax: þ386-1-5892-698; Email:
Int. Rev. of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Vol. 17, No. 5, 469 482, December 2007
ISSN 0959-3969 Print/1466-4402 Online/07/050469-14 Ó2007 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/09593960701631532
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consumers as well as the relatively low costs involved in music selection and
implementation in the retail setting. While retailers generally express their
commitment to the use of music as an integral component of the store environment
(Anonymous, 2004, 2005), its specific effects on customer behavioural responses in
the store are complex and often misunderstood, and its effects on brand equity
underestimated (Beverland et al., 2006).
Research investigating music in the retail environment has analysed music elements
such as tempo, volume, type of music and consumer preferences, along with their
effects on shoppers’ behaviour, their emotional responses, temporal effects and
consumer spending patterns. However, the divergence of the findings across studies
examining a range of retail settings (for example, retail banking, dining facilities and
various retail formats) suggests our understanding of the workings of the atmospheric
music on shoppers’ affective and behavioural responses is still somewhat scant. Many
studies, particularly those focusing on music pleasure effects, employ experimental
designs in laboratory settings and limit their investigations to the effects of pleasant
vs. unpleasant music (Dube and Morin, 2001; Garlin and Owen, 2006). This article
addresses these gaps in the literature in that it examines the effects of in-store
background music valence (liking) and music fit with the overall store image on
consumer attitudes and behavioural response in an emerging retail market. More
specifically, the first objective of this research was to assess the impact of music
valence on customer appraisal of store offering and on appraisal of the sales
personnel, and subsequently on the length of shopping time and the value of
purchase. Second, the influence of perceived music fit with the overall store image on
the time spent in the store is examined in the context of a high-end retail chain.
With these objectives in mind, we structure the article as follows: we first briefly
discuss the theoretical conceptualizations in studying relationships between
environmental cues and consumer behaviour in the context of service and product
providers. On this basis and existing empirical work, we advance a conceptual
framework and develop a set of research hypotheses. Research methods with respect
to construct measures, data collection and analyses are presented next. The findings
of hypotheses testing via covariance analysis are then discussed, and conclusions are
drawn relating our results to previous work in the field. Finally, we discuss the
limitations of the study, provide directions for future research efforts and offer
implications for retail brand managers.
Theoretical Background on the Environment-Behaviour Relationship
The most commonly used theoretical paradigm in the existing body of empirical
research addressing the impact of atmospherics (including music) stems from
environmental psychology (Garlin and Owen, 2006) and focuses on relationships
between environmental stimuli, emotional reaction and individuals’ behavioural
responses. This premise was introduced by Mehrabian and Russell (1974) who
developed the M-R model examining individuals’ reactions to environmental cues
through mediating non-verbal responses related to three dimensions: Pleasure,
Arousal and Dominance (PAD). The first two dimensions simply refer to the extent
that a specific environmental cue is enjoyable vs. not enjoyable, and to the extent that
it stimulates the individual, that is, it results in approach vs. avoidance behaviours
470 I. Vida et al.
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(for example, the length of time a shopper spends in the store). A number of studies
conducted in a retail setting (and reported in this review in subsequent sections)
confirm that shopper behaviours are, in fact, linked to measures of pleasure and
arousal, but not necessarily to dominance. This third dimension in the M-R model
relates to whether a person feels ‘in’ control vs. ‘under’ control in the environment.
While Ward and Barnes (2001) conclude that dominance is not a redundant dimension
of emotional reaction to the environment, Yalch and Spangenberg (2000: 140) state
that ‘it remains unclear whether difficulties in identifying behaviours associated with
dominance reflect its small influence on behavior or the need for improved
Some of the first researchers to test the M-R model in a retail setting were
Donovan and Rossiter (1982), who confirmed that the dimensions of pleasure and
arousal were significant mediators between environmental stimuli and consumer
responses. They also identified difficulties in measuring the effects of store
atmospheric elements, claiming that the atmospherics primarily induce transient
emotional states which are difficult to recall and articulate, and tend to influence
behaviours in the retail facility itself rather than affect other choices, such as store
selection decisions. Since then, a number of studies delving into affective outcomes of
designed product and service retail settings have utilized the PAD approach,
including those investigating music effects in the context of virtual stores (for
example, Herrington, 1996; Hui and Dube, 1997; McGoldrick and Pieros, 1998;
Mattilla and Wirtz, 2001; Menon and Kahn, 2002; Chebat and Michon, 2003;
Greenland and McGoldrick, 2005; Spangenberg et al., 2006).
Another model examining the overall impact of the physical environment on
individuals’ behavioural responses in service organizations is offered by Bitner
(1992). The author proposes that a person’s perception of environmental conditions
such as ambient physical characteristics, space layout and furnishings as well as
symbols and artefacts used will affect physiological, cognitive and emotional
responses of both customers and staff alike, and in turn affect their attitudes and
behaviours in service settings. For example, based on the premise that in-store music
leads to the activation of relevant knowledge structures, North et al. (1999) examined
the effect of stereotypically French and German music played in the alcohol beverage
section of a supermarket on consumers’ selection of wines from these two countries.
They found that, indeed, music from a specific country led to higher sales of wines
from that country, but added that the effects of musical fit on product selection were
not necessarily consciously recognized by the shoppers.
Building on existing environment-behavioural response models, Greenland and
McGoldrick (1994) develop the ‘indirect effects’ model and empirically apply it to the
retail financial services sector. They view environmental effects on consumer
behaviour as ‘involving a complex relationship between the branch environment, its
staff and its customers, as well as their emotional responses to their environment,
their evaluation of it along various design dimensions and their assessment of core
service aspects’ (Greenland and McGoldrick, 1994: 4). In their model, they also
account for individuals’ characteristics such as socio-demographics and experience
with the provider. Furthermore, having investigated the effects of multiple
environmental cues specifically in a product retailing setting, Baker et al. (2002)
proposed that design, ambient and social dimensions of the store environment and
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consumer perceptions of service quality, merchandise, value, effort and psychic cost
(that is, store choice criteria) affect store patronage decisions.
Conceptual Framework for the Study: The Effects of Music in Retail Settings
Using the aforementioned theoretical frameworks, a number of contemporary
empirical studies explore the impact of background music elements on affective and
behavioural variables. For instance, in the context of an Italian restaurant in
Scotland, Caldwell and Hibbert (2002) found that both music tempo and music
preference were significantly related to the time spent in a restaurant when each was
examined independently. However, only music preference was significant when
tempo and preference were analysed together. The researchers concluded in this
study that only the time spent in the restaurant had a significant effect on the total
amount the customer spent. Yalch and Spangenberg (2000) found that customers
incorrectly reported that they shopped longer when exposed to familiar music; they
actually shopped longer when they were exposed to unfamiliar music. They surmised
the shorter actual shopping time in the familiar music situation was linked to an
increased arousal. Using an experimental research design, these researchers found no
statistical significance in the liking of the music, only in familiarity. Moreover, the
subjects reported a great sense of dominance when listening to unfamiliar music as
compared to familiar music. Similarly, a study by Ward and Barnes (2001) found
that customers who had a higher sense of control in the retail service environment
reported pleasanter feelings, and being more aroused and involved in the encounter,
as compared to customers who had a lower sense of control.
A number of studies report on the effects of music dimensions (for example, volume,
tempo, rhythm) on individuals’ behavioural responses. For instance, a Ronald
Milliman study conducted in the 1990s (Bogomolny, 2003) found that fast-tempo
songs helped with turnover in a restaurant and that diners ordered three more drinks
when medium-tempo music was played. Another 1999 study commissioned by the
Ivanhoe CDP Group, Montreal, determined that mall shoppers lingered longer and
paid more attention to merchandise when slow background music was played. On the
other hand, in a study exploring the effects of background music in a supermarket
environment, Herrington (1996) found that tempo and volume of the music did not
significantly influence the shopping time or the purchase amount. Rather, the amount
of time and money spent in the store were positively related to the shoppers’ level of
preference for the music. Hence, shopping time and expenditure increased with the
level of preference for the music, regardless of the tempo or volume.
In the body of work focusing on shoppers’ emotional responses, Hui and Dube
(1997) examined the effect of background music on the perceived wait time and
found that music valence (liking) had a positive effect on emotions, even though the
subjects tended to report longer perceived waiting times. Using an experimental
research design in the context of banking services, the study found that, overall, the
music ameliorates emotional evaluation of the services environment which in turn
leads to a stronger approach behaviour towards the service organization. In a study
on background music pleasure intensity in a field setting (for example, a mall outlet
of a specialty apparel chain), Dube and Morin (2001) determined that attitude
toward the servicescape (that is, retail environment), attitude toward sales personnel
472 I. Vida et al.
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and overall store evaluation were more positive in the high-pleasure intensity
scenario. The findings of this study suggested that intense pleasure induced a more
positive attitude toward sales personnel and strengthened the relationship between
consumers’ attitudes towards sales personnel and store evaluation. Other studies also
suggest that the feelings of pleasure derived from background music can enhance
shoppers’ evaluation of the store and its elements (for example, Gorn et al., 1993;
Oakes, 2000; Yalch and Spanenberg, 2000; Matilla and Wirtz, 2001).
Against this theoretical and empirical work, we propose the following five research
hypotheses, which are then summarized and discussed in the conceptual framework
for the study (see Figure 1):
H1: Music valence (liking) has a positive influence on a) a shopper appraisal of
the store offering, and b) a positive influence on a shopper appraisal of
store personnel.
H2: A shopper appraisal of the store offering has a) a positive influence on the
time spent in the store, and b) a positive influence on the money spent in
the store.
H3: A shopper appraisal of sales personnel has a) a positive influence on the
time spent in the store, and b) a positive influence on the money spent in
the store.
H4: The time spent in the store has a positive influence on the money spent.
H5: The perceived fit of the music with the overall store image has a positive
influence on the time spent in the store.
Figure 1. Conceptual framework for the study
Background Music and Consumer Responses 473
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As shown in Figure 1, the conceptual model suggests that music valence (liking)
will have a positive effect on shoppers’ appraisal of store offering (H1a) and on their
appraisal of sales personnel (H1b). Music valence refers to the hedonic quality of a
stimulus and its positive affective experience that is reflected in the mood of a
respondent. Indeed, a recent study supports the extant research on the positive
effects of music liking on consumers’ mood (Beverland et al., 2006). We expect the
pleasure or displeasure derived from the background music will result in the positive
(negative) reinforcement of evaluative judgements of the retailer’s offering and its
service personnel. This is consistent with dominant paradigms discussed in the theory
section and existing empirical work (for example, MacInnis and Park, 1991; Gorn
et al., 1993; McGoldrick and Pieros, 1998; Oakes, 2000; Dube and Morin, 2001).
Further, we posit (Figure 1) that both shoppers’ appraisal of store offering and
appraisal of sales personnel will subsequently have a positive and significant effect on
the time shoppers spent in the retail store (H2a and H3a), and a positive and
significant effect on the amount of money shoppers spent in the shop (H2b and H3b).
In line with these two assertions (H2 and H3), we then expect that the longer the
shoppers linger in the store, the more money they will tend to spent (H4). This set of
hypotheses reflects the previous body of work on effects of pleasure and arousal on
customer approach/avoidance behavioural responses to environmental cues (for
example, Baker et al., 2002; Herrington, 1996; Caldwell and Hibbert, 2002; Chebat
and Michon, 2003; Greenland and McGoldrick, 2005).
Lastly, we expect that the greater the perceived music fit with the retailer’s overall
image, the more time the shoppers will spend in the store (H5). Music fit with store
image refers to congruency between music and other atmospherics and retail image
variables in the minds of consumers (D’Astous, 2000; Baker et al., 2002; Bitner,
1992; Garlin and Owen, 2006). For example, based on the premise that consumers
perceive ambient stimuli holistically, Mattila and Wirtz (2001) manipulated the
effects of scent and music in a specialty store setting. They offered evidence that only
when the two environmental cues match in terms of their arousing qualities, they can
enhance consumers’ evaluations of and behaviours in the shopping experience, and
encourage impulse shopping. In discussing the effects of music misfit in retail
facilities, Beverland et al. (2006: 988) conclude: ‘. . . misfit triggers counterfactual
thinking about the brand and the store, potentially leading to discomfort, exit, or
non-entry’. Conversely, the perception of music fit with the overall store image may
result in a positive experience for consumers who, as a result, should spend more
time in the retail facility. In their qualitative study of in-store music-brand fit,
Beverland et al. (2006) advance a conceptual model, whereby they specifically
account for the effect of the degree of music fit with the store/product brand
perception on the customers’ cognitive and emotional processes and subsequently on
their attitudinal/behavioural outcomes, including the amount of time spent in the
store, satisfaction, willingness to pay and purchase intention.
Research Methodology
The proposed hypotheses were tested in a natural setting using the store-intercept
method as customers were leaving the checkout counter at two large supermarkets in
the capital city of a new European Union member state. Background music in this
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high-end retail chain was played at the same moderate volume throughout the data
collection period, which took place over the course of a week at different times
during the day. Trained interviewers invited shoppers to participate in the study of
music and customer satisfaction; 332 shoppers declared having paid attention to the
background music in the store and were willing to complete the questionnaire
(response rate of 54.8 percent). These shoppers then represented the study sample
with a mean age of 31.4 years (SD of 12.8). Other demographic characteristics
(shown in Table 1) indicate the sample consisted of 65.1 percent females, over 60
percent with at least a high school level of education, and over 55 percent employed
or self-employed.
The mean time spent in the store (a self-reported measure) was 21.5 minutes and
the mean amount of money spent in the store (based on the checkout receipt) was
e16.60. No statistically significant differences were observed in the focal variables of
this research as a function of the day in the week, time of the day or the data
collection site. In addition to questions related to demographics and the time and
money spent, our research instrument consisted of 5-point semantic differential
scales measuring the constructs identified in our conceptual model. Construct
measures have been derived from existing literature (Bitner, 1992; Herrington, 1996;
Dube and Morin, 2001; Baker et al., 2002) and have been adapted based on
preliminary discussions with consumers and market research professionals.
Following a series of pre-tests, our research instrument was modified to
accommodate the necessary changes in the wording of the items. While we provide
more information on our measures in the subsequent section, the constructs included
in the research instrument consisted of music valence (two items related to liking vs.
disliking, positive vs. negative affect on mood), appraisal of the store offering (three
items related to merchandise selection, quality of merchandise, product layout in the
store), appraisal of sales personnel (four items related to availability, appearance,
competence and helpfulness) and music fit with the elements of store image (calculated
as an index, that is, unweighted average of items scores), which included items such
Table 1. Sample characteristics
Total sample N ¼332
Female 65.1%
Male 34.9%
Level of education
Primary school or less 12.0%
High school 48.5%
Some college 15.4%
University degree or higher 24.1%
Current employment status
High school or university students 36.7%
Employed or self-employed 55.2%
Retired 5.4%
Unemployed 3.0%
Works in household 0.6%
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as fit with merchandise assortment and quality, pricing, visual merchandising,
advertising, store personnel and an overall atmosphere in the store (McGoldrick,
2002; Levy and Weitz, 2004).
Analyses and Findings
Hypotheses were tested via a Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) method using
AMOS 4 software. The Maximum Likelihood estimation technique was adopted
because of its robustness to potential violations of the strict assumptions of SEM
(Byrne, 2001). Following Anderson and Gerbing’s (1988) recommendations, the
analysis was conducted in two steps. A measurement model was analysed first,
followed by the evaluation of a structural model in order to assess the hypothesized
relationships among the constructs.
An exploratory factor analysis showed that all the latent constructs were
unidimensional. All the indicators displayed characteristics that did not challenge
the assumption of normality (Bollen, 1989). We then proceeded with a confirmatory
factor analysis. The final measurement model included three first-order reflective
constructs and the nine indicators used to measure them. The fit statistics of the
model indicate a very good fit to the data (w
¼31.8, d.f. 24, p ¼0.13; GFI ¼0.979;
NFI ¼0.966; NNFI ¼0.987; CFI ¼0.991; RMSEA ¼0.031). Table 2 indicates, for
Table 2. Measures and scale properties
Scale properties and items
Music valence rf¼0.71 rvc ¼0.55
1. How would you evaluate the music playing in the store today? 0.72
Like it very much :::::Dislike it completely
2. To what extent has the music in the store affected your mood
during your visit in the store today?
Very positively :::::Very negatively
Appraisal of store offering rf¼0.75 rvc ¼0.49
Based on your experience in this store, how would you evaluate the
following characteristics of this store:
Excellent :::::Very poor
1. Merchandise selection 0.72
2. Quality of merchandise 0.71
3. Product layout 0.68
Appraisal of sales personnel rf¼0.83 rvc ¼0.55
Based on your experience during your visit in this store, how would
you evaluate the following characteristics of the sales personnel:
Exceptional :::::Very poor
1. Availability 0.74
2. Competence 0.69
3. Helpfulness 0.82
4. Appearance 0.73
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each construct, the measurement items used with the standardized loading of each
indicator, the composite reliability index -rf (Gerbing and Anderson, 1988) and the
variance extracted rvc (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). All measures exhibit indices
very close or superior to the reference values of rf¼0.6, rvc ¼0.5 (Bagozzi and Yi,
Next, the discriminant validity of each latent construct was assessed by conducting
three w
difference tests where latent variables where evaluated two at a time. First,
their correlation was constrained to be equal to one. Then, this model was compared
to a second model where this constraint was released. A difference of w
superior to
3.84 (d.f. ¼1) indicated discriminant validity. All three scales passed this test easily
with w
differences of 47.9, 54.5 and 75.7. Once the construct reliability, convergent
validity and discriminant validity were established, the structural model was evaluated
in order to test the hypothesized relationships between constructs. The fit indices
indicate an outstanding conformance of the model to the data (w
¼47.3, d.f. 38,
p¼0.14; GFI ¼0.974; NFI ¼0.957; NNFI ¼0.987; CFI ¼0.991; RMSEA ¼0.027).
The model explains 32.6 percent of the variance in the dependent variable (money
spent in the store). Table 3 summarizes the results of hypotheses testing for the
baseline model (hypotheses H1–H4). While hypotheses H1a, H1b, H2a and H4 are
verified, support was found for neither the relationship between shoppers’ appraisal of
store offering on money spent (H2b) nor for the relationship between shoppers’
appraisal of sales personnel on time and on money spent in the store (H3a, H3b).
In order to test hypothesis H5 related to the influence of music fit with the store
image on time spent in the store, we opted for a two-group analysis. This method has
two advantages: 1) there is no need to assume any correlation between the variable
music fit with the store image and the other exogenous variables in the model; and 2)
it is possible to calculate the actual supplement of time that shoppers will spend in
the store when they perceive a good music fit with the store image. Hence, the
Table 3. Baseline model results: hypotheses 1–4 testing
thesis Antecedent
coefficient T value* Result
H1a Music valence Appraisal of
store offering
0.593 5.53 Supported
H1b Music valence Appraisal of
sales personnel
0.445 5.32 Supported
H2a Appraisal of
store offering
Time spent in
the store
0.365 3.29 Supported
H2b Appraisal of
store offering
Money spent
in the store
0.105 1.13 Not supported
H3a Appraisal of
sales personnel
Time spent
in the store
70.071 70.71 Not supported
H3b Appraisal of
sales personnel
Money spent
in the store
70.089 71.07 Not supported
H4 Time spent in
the store
Money spent
in the store
0.549 11.14 Supported
Note: *Significant at p 0.05 if jtj1.96.
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variable was dichotomized around the median. The two-group analysis consisted of
constraining the parameter to be evaluated (the intercept of the variable time spent)
to be equal between the two groups. Then, the w
of this model was compared with a
model where this constraint had been released. A significant difference in w
of 114.5
indicated very strong support for the hypothesis tested (significant at p 0.05 if
43.84 with a difference in d.f. ¼1). Specifically, the difference in time spent in
the store between the respondents who perceived a good music fit with the retail store
image and those who did not was 22 minutes.
Discussion of Findings and Conclusions
The results of our structural analyses indicate that shoppers’ liking of the music in
the natural retail setting and the perceived music fit with the store image positively
affected the length of shopping time, which, in turn, indirectly influenced consumers’
expenditure. The finding that the music valence does not influence shoppers’
behaviours directly (it does so only through the intermediation of the store offering
appraisal) is consistent with the theoretical premise of the M-R model. That is, the
effects of pleasure/displeasure (music valence) on approach/avoidance responses
(shopping time) are mediated through evaluative judgements—in our case,
evaluation of the store offering and evaluation of the sales personnel.
However, our analyses failed to confirm that the shoppers’ appraisal of sales
personnel affected either the time or the money spent in the store. These results may
be attributed to the fact that this research was conducted in a large supermarket
setting (although at a high-end, service-oriented retail chain) rather than in the
smaller specialty store context, as was the case in previous studies (for example,
Dube and Morin, 2001; Mattilla and Wirtz, 2001). Task-oriented shopping
environments offer fewer opportunities for observation and interaction with store
personnel as compared to retail outlets patronized for recreational purposes. Our
results seem to support the Greenland and McGoldrick (1994) ‘indirect effects’
model of the designed environment whereby the authors identify a moderating role
of proxy indicators such as reliability, approachability and flexibility of staff, but
claim that these tend to be most influential within service environments where
customers lack direct experience with the tangible characteristics of their product
Contrary to our expectations, we found no effect of music valence (through the
store offering appraisal) on the money spent in the store, but only an indirect effect
through the time spent in the store. Thus, unlike other studies that used alternative
research designs and analytical techniques to evaluate the effect of background music
on attitudinal, temporal and expenditure dimensions (Herrington, 1996; Caldwell
and Hibbert, 2002), our research clearly identified shopping time as the only direct
determinant of the amount of money spent in the store.
In response to the call for more research focusing on relationships between store
music and other elements of atmospherics and retail branding in recent literature
(Dorsey, 2005; Beverland et al., 2006; Garlin and Owen, 2006), this study delved not
only into the role of music valence, but also highlighted the impact of the perceived
music fit with the store image on the length of time shoppers spent in the store. In
our research, the perceived fit of the music lengthened the shopping time by 22
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minutes. This clearly indicates the need for adequate fit of the music with the various
elements of the store image, including merchandise assortment and quality, pricing,
visual merchandising, advertising, store personnel and overall atmosphere. While
research on store music fit with other elements of store atmospherics or retail image
seems scant, prior work in retailing and advertising underlines the need for match
between music and commercial messages (MacInnis and Park, 1991; Chebat et al.,
2001). Our findings provide evidence that the background music not only induces
positive feelings in shoppers, but also plays an important role as an intrinsic element
of the store atmospherics and retail branding.
Future Research and Managerial Implications
In conducting this research, considerable efforts have been undertaken to employ
a sound conceptual basis when applying existing knowledge to a novel research
context, to select an adult sample of shoppers, and to utilize solid measures and
relevant analytical methods to test the model. However, a few limitations still
apply, which, in turn, open questions for future research agenda. In the
subsequent section we also discuss several managerial implications that emerge
from our findings.
While clearly offering some advantage over laboratory settings, our data collection
was performed in an actual retail context whereby influences other than the music
itself may have affected the respondents’ evaluation of the store offering and sales
personnel. As environmental psychologists have long postulated, previous studies
also confirm that people tend to respond to environmental cues holistically (Bitner,
1992; Mattila and Wirtz, 2001). We attempted to account for effects of other
environmental stimuli in the retail setting by including the perception of music fit
with the overall store image in our conceptual model. Nevertheless, future studies
may wish to explore and measure simultaneously various environmental cues as
drivers of in-store evaluations and behaviour. In discussing complexities inherent
in empirical research on environment–behaviour relationships, Greenland and
McGoldrick (1994: 3) note that: ‘. . . many attributes making up an environment
exert their effects at or below the conscious level of awareness, which can lead to
inaccuracies and misinterpretation of findings’. Clearly, given the objectives of this
research, our data collection was limited to the conscious effects of atmospheric
music, as respondents had to notice the music in order to respond to our measures of
music valence and music fit with the store image.
The findings of this study are somewhat generalizable to high-end supermarkets
using moderate volume background music. Future studies would do well to examine
linkages advanced in our conceptual model in other retail formats using background
and/or even foreground music, which is intended to be heard and enhance the view
of the product (Rubel, 1996; Dorsey, 2005; Wilson, 2005). In light of our results, it
would be particularly interesting to investigate the impact of sales personnel
appraisal on behavioural responses in a high service context (for example, specialty
retail store, travel agent) where delivering excellent interpersonal performance
represents a major source of enduring competitive advantage.
Considering the aim of this study was to examine not only music valence but also,
for the first time, the effects of music fit on shopper behavioural responses, our
Background Music and Consumer Responses 479
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conceptual model has not accounted for individual characteristics of shoppers and
their shopping motives which could have affected the music pleasure effects on
subsequent variables. Previous studies have shown that individuals’ response
moderators determine consumers’ perceptions of Servicescapes (Bitner, 1992). Since
the literature in the field (for example, McGoldrick and Pieros, 1998; Machleit and
Mantel, 2001; Mattila and Wirtz, 2001; Morschett et al., 2005) also emphasizes that
consumption-related goals influence the impact of environmental stimuli on
consumer evaluation of shopping experience, future examinations ought to include
these variables to gain further insights into the validity of our model.
With respect to the return on investment from the use of music in a retail
environment, findings in this study suggest that the only behaviour to be
influenced by the music valence and by the music fit with the store image is the
propensity to shop longer. Given the significant effect of temporal dimensions on
shopping expenditure identified in our study, three important implications emerge.
First, if store managers wish to retain shoppers in their facilities, they should
carefully select background music to closely match tastes and preferences of their
core clientele. While this may be challenging due to the highly idiosyncratic nature
of musical tastes and broadly defined target segments that task-oriented retail
formats (for example, supermarkets) tend to serve (Turley and Milliman, 2000),
managers should keep in mind that ‘. . . an emotionally taxing environment can
negatively impact patronage even more than price considerations’ (Garlin and
Owen, 2006: 755).
Second, managers should choose music not only to reflect preferences of their core
clientele, but should also make sure their music selection matches and complements
the other atmospheric stimuli utilized in their outlets as well as the overall store
image. Our results with respect to the effects of music fit clearly indicate that music
needs to co-create and correspond to a retailer’s positioning in the market. This
finding reiterates previous work stating that mismatch between elements of
atmospherics, staffing and processes may not only result in irritating shopper
experience but also weaken the positive effects of individual variables (D’Astous,
2000; Mattila and Wirtz, 2001; Beverland et al., 2006).
Finally, this research delving into music valence and music fit raises the question
about the actual cognizance of the managers regarding the effects of atmospheric
music on shoppers’ evaluative and behavioural responses, and their ability to
manipulate this and other sensory stimuli in different retail types of stores and in
different situations. With a few exceptions (for example, Areni, 2003), there is a
dearth of research examining the perspective of retail management. Nonetheless,
existing evidence suggests that in selecting and monitoring the effects of music as
an atmospheric tool, managers still tend to take a somewhat random approach
(Dube and Morin, 2001; Garlin and Owen, 2006). Our findings clearly reaffirm that
if managers want the time spent in their facilities converted into an enhanced
sensory experience for their shoppers and ultimately into sales performance, the
selection of music should be based on systematic customer research rather than on
employees’ personal tastes. This knowledge, alongside a clear understanding of the
music fit, can secure adequate positioning of their brand with the target market
and avoid deterioration of brand equity and unintended repositioning (Beverland
et al., 2006).
480 I. Vida et al.
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... Up-to-date, automatic mixing mainly regards more manageable tasks, such as setting the maximum level of the microphone in a live situation in a way that does not allow for the system's feedback or distortion of the speakers. The more manageable tasks that can be performed are also automatic mixing of audio elements in cases where artistic quality is not the most crucial aspect, e.g., in video games [40] or audio/music branding (for instance, in stores) where the songs are automatically mixed together one after the other [20,[41][42][43][44][45][46]. In the latter case, the mixing happens not in the context of multiple tracks in one piece but in the entire music project, where the previous song is smoothly mixed with the following. ...
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The purpose of this paper is to show a music mixing system that is capable of automatically mixing separate raw recordings with good quality regardless of the music genre. This work recalls selected methods for automatic audio mixing first. Then, a novel deep model based on one-dimensional Wave-U-Net autoencoders is proposed for automatic music mixing. The model is trained on a custom-prepared database. Mixes created using the proposed system are compared with amateur, state-of-the-art software, and professional mixes prepared by audio engineers. The results obtained prove that mixes created automatically by Wave-U-Net can objectively be evaluated as highly as mixes prepared professionally. This is also confirmed by the statistical analysis of the results of the conducted listening tests. Moreover, the results show a strong correlation between the experience of the listeners in mixing and the likelihood of a higher rating of the Wave-U-Net-based and professional mixes than the amateur ones or the mix prepared using state-of-the-art software. These results are also confirmed by the outcome of the similarity matrix-based analysis.
... The impact of music on consumer behavior in a retail setting has mainly been studied in terms of its effect on the shoppers' mood, length of shopping time, appraisal of store offerings, etc. Furthermore, of the relevant field studies completed in supermarkets, the vast majority used background music for the entire supermarket [e.g., Herrington (60), Vida et al. (61)], not as background music only played in close vicinity to, for instance, an in-store display for a healthy food item. As music itself has the ability to create thoughts and associations, and to change emotions (62), it can enhance customer perception of a brand. ...
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Since retailers control the space where consumers tend to make the vast majority of their food purchase decisions, they can take measures to promote healthy living. Increasing relative sales of healthy food can contribute to the ongoing battle against preventable lifestyle diseases. We show how retailers can use impression management and environmental cues in their stores to influence consumers' sales responses to healthy food. This paper advocates in-store research in this realm and introduces three consumer behavior levels - reaching, stopping/holding, and closing the sale - as micro-conversions when retailers use impression management on their consumers. We showcase impression management at each conversion level by testing the effects of placing healthy and unhealthy food items on a floor display in the store area with the most traffic, with or without background music and an advertisement. The results demonstrate that a healthy food product can outperform the sales of popular unhealthy foods. The floor display, for example, increased the sales of the targeted “healthy product” by 570% on average during the intervention periods, compared with the baseline. We discuss the importance of in-store research into three conversions to enable further development of impression management and the use of environmental cues for healthy food promotion.
... The fact that customers spend more time in the retail environment as they had originally intended should be a good sign for retailers, since it has been positively linked with shoppers' derived pleasure from the experience (Donovan & Rossiter, 1982;Donovan et al., 1994;Forsythe & Bailey, 1996). Other factors influencing the time shoppers spend in retail environments are related to the store atmosphere, such as background music and certain smells (Morrison, Gan, Dubelaar, & Oppewal, 2011;Vida, Obadia, & Kunz, 2007), but also to undesired physical contact, such as the accidental touch by a stranger who is brushing past the shopper, which can make shoppers want to leave early (Martin, 2012). In line with earlier research, studies including the presence of companions have identified that shoppers also spend more time when shopping together is an enjoyable experience or when companions are of great help in the process (Hart & Dale, 2014;Nicholls, 1997;Prus, 1993;Sommer et al., 1992). ...
Shopping companions are a common phenomenon in retail environments. They influence shoppers in a variety of ways, as well as retailers' frontline staff, who engage shoppers and their companions in sales conversations. This dissertation examines the phenomenon of co-shopping and its implications from three perspectives:, i.e., from the academic, the practitioner, and the customer perspective. Following a systematic literature review reflecting the current state of research on the topic, the specific behavior of different types of companion is analyzed from the perspective of service-oriented retail salespeople. On this basis, five types of shopping companion, each unique in terms of personality and behavior, are described. Ultimately, different types of companion and their various behaviors are examined with regard to their different effects on accompanied shoppers. In particular, emphasis is placed on the emotions aroused in the shopper and changes in their behavior, especially in terms of time invested and their tendency to abandon a planned purchase. The dissertation's findings contribute to a better understanding of how shoppers are influenced by companions, and specifically through their behavior and personality. It sheds light on how shoppers process the influences of different types of companion and, in greater detail, how emotions aroused by a particular companion type can determine corresponding behavioral changes with shoppers. The findings highlight the importance of retailers and their frontline staff adequately addressing the particular influences of specific types of shopping companion. Corresponding implications and opportunities for improved training and education of retail salespeople and improved design options for elements of the shopping environment are discussed.
... Imschloss and Kuehnl (2017), for example, found that soft music combined with soft flooring will enhance product evaluations compared to incongruent combinations (e.g., soft music and hard flooring). Additionally, Vida et al. (2007) found that the perceived fit between background music and store image (including the overall atmosphere in the store) increased the length of the shopping time, leading to larger consumers' expenditure. A positive effect of background music congruent with the coziness and homely atmosphere of the store on pleasure and time spent was also demonstrated by Helmefalk and Hultén (2017) in a physical furnishing store. ...
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Despite the robust evidence that congruent background music in the physical store environment positively affects consumer reactions, less is known about its effects in an online context. The present study aims (1) to examine whether congruency via multiple elicited crossmodal correspondences between background music and the online store environment (e.g., perceived lightness, loudness, and coldness of the cue/environment) leads to more positive affective, evaluative, and behavioral consumer reactions and (2) to investigate the moderating role of shopping goals on this crossmodal congruency effect. Previous research showed that low task-relevant atmospheric cues like music can have a negative effect on consumers when they visit a website with a purchase goal in mind. An online experiment was conducted with 239 respondents randomly assigned to a shopping goal (experiential browsing vs. goal-directed searching) and a music condition (no music, crossmodally congruent music, or crossmodally incongruent music). Our results show that crossmodally incongruent background music (vs. no music) leads to more positive consumer reactions for experiential browsers and more negative consumer reactions for goal-directed searchers. Conversely, crossmodally congruent background music (vs. no music) has a positive effect on experiential browsers and no adverse effect on goal-directed searchers. Additionally, the presence of crossmodally congruent background music leads to more positive consumer reactions than the presence of crossmodally incongruent background music, independent of the shopping goal. We extend previous research on multisensory congruency effects by showing the added value of establishing congruency between music and the store environment via multiple elicited crossmodal correspondences in the online environment, countering previously found negative effects of low-task relevant atmospheric cues for goal-directed searchers.
Coffee is a tremendously popular beverage throughout the world. According to recent studies, consumption of this caffeinated drink is influenced, inter alia, by variables related to store atmosphere, including background music. Findings in this regard, however, have been rather limited and ambiguous, and raise the question of whether music style, specifically classical versus pop, influences coffee purchase likelihood. In four studies, the authors sought to address this question, finding a positive correlation between music arousal level and coffee purchase likelihood, regardless of music style (classical or pop). In other words, an increase in music arousal level appears to enhance coffee purchase likelihood. The results, thereby, support the music congruity hypothesis. The article concludes with a discussion of research and managerial implications as well as directions for future research.
Consumers react to external stimuli they encounter in store environments, especially if they are unexpected, novel, or salient. Often, however, consumers do not go shopping purely driven by stimuli, but rather driven by goals. In this case, they selectively pay attention to those stimuli that presumably bring them closer to their consumption goals. With the knowledge of the mechanisms of this goal-oriented top-down perception, retailers can design their assortment and the store environment in such a way that they become relevant for certain target groups. In the further course it will be shown, using the example of background music, that stimulus perception does not refer to individual characteristic expressions of environmental stimuli in isolation, but that multisensuality – entirely in the sense of Gestalt psychology – is an interaction of sensory perceptions. Finally, recommendations for musical design at the POS are derived from various studies on the effect of music.
Cette étude s’articule autour de trois enjeux que présente le courant expérientiel en marketing : une asymétrie de la recherche puisque la perspective du consommateur est plus développée que celle des organisations (Kranzbühler et al., 2018) ; des confusions régulières entre l’expérience et le contexte expérientiel ; la difficulté de mesurer financièrement les stratégies expérientielles (Ferraro et al., 2017 ; Roederer et Filser, 2015). Le contexte expérientiel physique commercial (CEPC) est conceptualisé sous le prisme de la théorie de l’agencement (Deleuze et Guattari, 1980). Une méthodologie multiméthodes permet de collecter les données qualitatives autour d’entretiens semi-directifs, d’un corpus photographique et d’une observation non-participante. Dans un second temps, le concept de la valeur à vie du client (CLV) est mobilisé pour la première fois, à notre connaissance, pour capturer les effets de la modification d’un CEPC de façon longitudinale. Deux terrains sont investigués dont l’un à caractère hédonique et l’autre utilitaire. Une méthodologie quasi expérimentale est employée afin de comparer les effets entre un groupe traité et de contrôle. Les résultats font émerger une structuration du CEPC autour d’une intention d’expression et de six dispositifs. Le CEPC est rythmé par un cycle de vie, mais aussi par un réseau rhizomique dans lequel il est ancré. La valeur à vie permet de mettre en évidence les effets d’un remodelage d’un CEPC dans le temps selon que le contexte soit utilitaire ou hédonique.
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Hızla değişen tüketim davranışlarına ayak uydurmaya çalışan perakende sektörü açısından mağaza atmosferi ve mağaza içi müzik kavramları giderek önem kazanmaktadır. Çünkü, yapılan araştırmalar her iki kavramın da tüketici satın alma davranışlarını etkilediğini göstermektedir. Bu çalışmada, mağaza içi atmosfer ile arka plan müzik hizmetlerinin tüketici davranışlarına yönelik etkilerine ilişkin kapsamlı bir literatür taraması gerçekleştirilmiştir. Mağaza içi müzik hizmetlerinin tür, ritim, tempo ve vokal bakımından tüketiciler üzerindeki etkileri kapsamlı olarak incelendiğinde, müziğin tüketicilerin satın alma davranışlarına yönelik olumlu etkilerinin bulunduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. ABSTRACT The concepts of store atmosphere and in-store music are becoming increasingly important for the retail sector that is trying to keep up with the rapidly changing consumption behaviors. Because, researches highlight that both concepts affect purchase behaviors of the consumers. In this study, a comprehensive literature review on the effects of in-store atmosphere and background music services on consumer behavior has been conducted. As the effects of in-store music services on consumers in terms of genre, rhythm, tempo and vocals are examined in details, it is concluded that music has positive effects on purchasing behavior of consumers.
The current study aims to use immersive technologies to examine how: (1) store design, (2) sensory pleasantness, and (3) store’s perceived luxury influence brand and product evaluation for an FMCG food brand. A total of 668 participants were immersed in a 180-degree, dome-shaped virtual reality display that simulated an FMCG flagship store. A self-reported survey was administered after the exposure to the stimulus to measure store design pleasantness, sensory pleasantness, store’s perceived luxury, product evaluation, brand evaluation, and purchase intent. The current research demonstrates the positive effects of store design and pleasantness and perceived luxury on consumer evaluations of food products and brands in the context of FMCG flagship stores. The present study indicates that flagship stores could serve as a potential alternative to traditional retail outlets for FMCG food brands. This is important for FMCG brands as they can negate their reliance on traditional retailers and stimulate positive perceptions towards brands and products.
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Purpose Drawing on information processing theory, this paper aims to study how consumers’ liking of background music in advertising affects their purchase intention and explore the roles of positive brand attitudes, music mode and music tempo within such a relationship. Design/methodology/approach We created several radio advertisements that promote two fictitious products: an electric car (EcoCar) and a reusable coffee mug (EcoMug). We study the role of music in these advertisements and examine how it affects purchase intention across multiple experiments. Findings We confirm the prediction that positive brand attitudes mediate the relationship between music liking and purchase intention. We also show that music moderates such an indirect relationship because major mode music strengthens the effect of positive brand attitudes on purchase intention. Additionally, we find that major mode music with a fast tempo can further strengthen the effect of positive brand attitudes on purchase intention. As a result, the indirect effect of music liking upon purchase intention via positive brand attitudes will be moderated jointly by the music mode and the music tempo. Originality/value Limited scholarship explores how the subjective characteristics of music affect consumer buying behaviour in conjunction with the objective characteristics of music. The current research addresses this gap by investigating how music liking (a subjective characteristic of music) and music mode and tempo (objective characteristics of music) affect consumer buying behaviour.
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This study tests the Mehrabian-Russell environmental psychology model in retail settings. The results suggest that store atmosphere engendered by the usual myriad of in-store variables, is represented psychologically by consumers in terms of two major emotional states - pleasure and arousal - and that these two emotional states are significant mediators of intended shopping behaviors within the store. The practical value of this approach is that retailers may be better able to explain and predict the effects of in-store changes on shopping behavior.
The statistical tests used in the analysis of structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error are examined. A drawback of the commonly applied chi square test, in addition to the known problems related to sample size and power, is that it may indicate an increasing correspondence between the hypothesized model and the observed data as both the measurement properties and the relationship between constructs decline. Further, and contrary to common assertion, the risk of making a Type II error can be substantial even when the sample size is large. Moreover, the present testing methods are unable to assess a model's explanatory power. To overcome these problems, the authors develop and apply a testing system based on measures of shared variance within the structural model, measurement model, and overall model.
Purpose – Effective retail environments are crucial for customer acquisition and retention. However, the environment behaviour relationship is complex and producing the ideal design is difficult. Whilst substantial research reports the affects of specific design components, studies investigating the impact of multiple store environment stimuli upon consumer perceptions, attitudes and behaviour are limited. Design/methodology/approach – The environment response model provides a conceptual framework for examining the impact of retail settings upon cognitive, affective and cognitive consumer responses. Its applicability is tested in retail banking environments. Research empirically links survey data to a design audit and reveals that more modern branch styles and features are statistically more likely to induce favourable customer reaction. Findings – Research empirically links survey data to a design audit and reveals that more modern branch styles and features are statistically more likely to induce favourable customer reaction. This finding in some ways helps justify expenditure on refurbishment. However, features having a positive impact in one respect may also be negative in another, highlighting the complexity of the environment behaviour relationship and the difficulties facing retail designers. Research limitations/implications – The limitations of this research is the relatively small branch sample size. Originality/value – Contributes to the literature on the impact of retail settings on consumer responses.
In this article, we provide guidance for substantive researchers on the use of structural equation modeling in practice for theory testing and development. We present a comprehensive, two-step modeling approach that employs a series of nested models and sequential chi-square difference tests. We discuss the comparative advantages of this approach over a one-step approach. Considerations in specification, assessment of fit, and respecification of measurement models using confirmatory factor analysis are reviewed. As background to the two-step approach, the distinction between exploratory and confirmatory analysis, the distinction between complementary approaches for theory testing versus predictive application, and some developments in estimation methods also are discussed.
Two studies are presented which demonstrate that the effect of emotions on shopping satisfaction is moderated by the attributions that shoppers make for their feelings. Study 1, a field study, includes two samples of shoppers (student and non-student) who responded to a questionnaire after an actual shopping episode. Results indicate that emotions have stronger effects on shopping satisfaction when the feelings are attributed to the store rather than being internally attributed. A subsequent laboratory experiment (Study 2) replicates the finding and also demonstrates that attribution locus (internal vs. external) and outcome (purchase success vs. failure) produce specific types of emotional responses. The effects of attribution locus and purchase outcome on shopping satisfaction are mediated by these emotions. Implications for retailers and future research avenues are discussed.
In this article, we provide guidance for substantive researchers on the use of structural equation modeling in practice for theory testing and development. We present a comprehensive, two-step modeling approach that employs a series of nested models and sequential chi-square difference tests. We discuss the comparative advantages of this approach over a one-step approach. Considerations in specification, assessment of fit, and respecification of measurement models using confirmatory factor analysis are reviewed. As background to the two-step approach, the distinction between exploratory and confirmatory analysis, the distinction between complementary approaches for theory testing versus predictive application, and some developments in estimation methods also are discussed.
The pressure to develop cost-effective retail design solutions has heightened the need to understand better the atmospherics-behaviour relationship. Drawing upon a review of salient literature, this paper develops a conceptual model highlighting the influence of response moderators, including expectations, familiarity with the environment and shopping motives. Using LISREL, the model is calibrated and tested through a survey of 1,000 shoppers within one of Europe's largest, city centre shopping malls. Consumers with strong shopping motives are found to experience more pleasure and arousal; expectations also moderate the atmospherics-mood states relationship. The shortcomings of measurement scales, developed in previous studies with student samples, when applied to real shoppers are also noted.