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Love is in the… music? - How background music effects florists

Love is in the… music? - How background music effects florists

Written by

James Picken


January 30, 2023



With Valentine’s Day approaching, florists around the country will be facing one of the busiest times of their year. But how can background music help boost their sales?

At Startle, we know that there are no medals for nice music and wishful thinking, just a fair bit of risk. That’s why every decision we make for our customers is backed up by behavioural science. Music is powerful, but using it with intention takes skill. 

It is estimated that 250 million stems of flowers are sold for Valentine’s Day globally. So for florists, when done right, it can be a very profitable time of year. But is there a way that background music can give that extra push?

Let’s look at the science 

Luckily, there’s some research we can use. 

An experiment was carried out in a flower shop, where love songs and romantic music, pop music, and no music were played. 

The results showed that the mean amount of money spent was significantly higher when love and romantic songs were playing compared with the other two options. It’s interesting to note that playing pop music did not lead to an increase of money spent compared with playing none, showing the importance of genre choice. 

The findings support the idea that background music can prime product-relevant knowledge, which in turn can lead to approach behaviours.  

Has this been investigated before?

There have been numerous studies into the impact of background music on consumer behaviour - Areni and Kim (1993), North, Hargreaves and McKendrick (1999), Vida, Obadia and Kunz (2007), just to name a few. However, these studies didn’t use no music as a condition. 

For example, in Areni and Kim’s study, it was noted that classical music had a positive impact on sales in comparison to Top Forty music. However, some say that this could be explained by negative opinions of Top Forty in music. In the florist experiment, the no music condition shows that romantic music had a positive impact, and because of the comparison between pop music and no music, the increased spending must be due to the genre played. The results suggest that background music in itself does not encourage customers to spend more money, the music must suit the products on offer.

“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.”

- Cèlin Jacob, Nicholas Guèguen, Gaëlle Boulbry, Selmi Sami.

What does this mean for me?

If you’re a retail or hospitality venue looking to make the most of Valentine’s Day, thinking carefully about the music you play might have an impact on your customers and how they behave. 

For Startle customers, we have a playlist with ‘The Greatest Love Songs’. Why not give it a go, and see the difference it makes? It’s backed by research, after all. 

Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe? Or get in touch here.

Love is in the… music? - How background music effects florists

James Picken

Creative Director at Startle. It's my job to produce and execute our music output, making sure everything is sounding, feeling and performing just right for our customers. When I'm not doing this, you can find me either walking my dog, remixing 90s divas on Logic Pro X, returning overdue library books or throwing weights about in the gym.

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Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?

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