In a digitally driven world where everything is available online and people are visiting physical retail stores less often,the focus has shifted to the ‘Customer experience’ and ways in which to engage the customers senses in-store. With downward pressure on price and profit margins plus the introduction of new competitors, retailers need to find new and improved ways to heighten the sensory experience. Purchasing decisions are still primary made in store and 1 in 10 shoppers leaves a product they planned to buy on the shelf and walks away empty handed (OgilvyAction, 2014). Getting a customer in through the doors may be the hardest task in our digital age, however providing a positive experience, and keeping customers loyal to your store, is far more complex.
In a recent study by project harvest, data showed that 17% of people visit a store because of the “atmosphere and experience of shopping there”. The atmosphere of a store has also been proven to increase the duration that a customer stays in store, increasing the likeliness of spending more.
In-store audio has long been regarded as a simple and cost effective method of engaging with customers through music that subconsciously causes shoppers to move around the store slower, in turn buying more. More recently retailers have started to create synergies with music suppliers that aim to specifically target music to the consumer, based on times of the day, demographics and music preferences. Targeted music not only changes the pace of the shopper but can also trigger memory recall and effectively transport a person to positive memories and elevate their mood. In an article by Psychology Today, Emily Anthes writes “Shoppers make more impulsive purchases when they’re overstimulated.”
Retailers are all slowly moving towards creating independent in-store audio channels with music targeted specifically to their customers. Music is however, only one piece of the picture when it comes to the in-store audio experience. What is often intended as a perfect audio solution is quite flawed in reality.
5 of the most common ways in-store audio is decreasing the customer experience;
- Music is turned down by staff so low that customers cannot hear it
- The music isn’t targeted area by area to suit customer demographics
- Staff are using telephones and old microphones to make announcements that are too loud and often distorted
- Corporate messages are ineffective at engaging customers on a local level
- Advertising is failing to grab the shopper due to fluctuating volume and interruptions by staff announcements
The quality of in-store audio and how effective it is at enhancing the customer experience relies on far more than simply choosing a good music content provider. Audio quality is ultimately determined in-store by the technology contained in the public address system and store microphones. Even the best audio channel will fail to impress customers if played through an out of date PA system.
The most important features to look for in a public address system are as follows;
- Automatic volume leveling to ensure music and ads are always played at adequate volumes
- Web based music that has the ability to be customised for different stores/ demographics
- New technology microphones with shout stopper technology
- Microphones that allow you to create in-store messages to engage customers locally
- Interruption free technology so ads will always play in full
The customer experience in-store can be determined by a number of factors and not all of these are within the control of the retailer. The in-store audio system that you select is one aspect that can be controlled and can easily optimise the atmosphere of your store for a minimal price. Don’t let an outdated PA system negatively affect your customers experience!
For more information on the minimum requirements that your PA system should have call Distribution Media for an obligation free chat today.
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