How to attract new customers in Retail via Directional Sound - Focusonics

How to attract and maintain customer attention in Retail using Directional Sound

With online stores able to offer personalized offers based off of cookies and purchasing history, the challenge for brick and mortar stores to attract and maintain customer attention is becoming an increasingly difficult but vital factor.

Directional speakers can help your retail store to cut through the noise and offer personalized, localized information to your customers to offer a shopping experience that e-commerce simply can’t match.

What is a directional speaker?

For those who may not be familiar, directional speakers, sometimes also referred to as either ultrasonic speakers or parametric speakers, are able to send a precise beam of sound to a specific location by utilizing ultrasonic waves for sound reproduction. 

The beam of sound can immerse the listener in sound up to tens of meters away, whilst just steps away nothing can be heard.

How can directional sound help retail stores?

Highstreets and shopping malls are full of competing stores vying for the attention of the customer, who has more options than ever of where to spend their hard earned money. To stand out, many stores in the past have turned to big visual displays, whether a new sign, a new product display window or even a wacky arm inflatable display!

One method that has often been overlooked is the role that sound can play in attracting and retaining the attention of the customer. We aren’t talking about blaring out loud, obnoxious noise through blown out speakers either.

Directional speakers offer retail stores the capability to send pinpointed sound directly to a customer, immersing them in useful audio such as product information or special offers. This directional sound helps to deliver a more personalized shopping experience to the customer, whilst also ensuring that your shop can remain a relaxed, quiet environment as directional sound does not add to the ambient background noise.

This functionality is perfect for product demonstrations shown on screens or monitors in your store. Using the built-in audio can be annoying to staff having to listen to the same audio loop all day, and to customers browsing for other products.

It also limits the amount of product displays that can be playing sound at once, as otherwise the sound coming from the various demonstrations would play over the top of each other and be indistinguishable from one another.

By using a directional speaker placed above or near the product display screen, the audio can be pinpointed to the specific customers in the close vicinity watching the product demonstration.

Can this sound be personalized?

The Focusonics® directional speakers can be integrated with the NCheck Visitor Management System, which is a person recognition technology that enables the Focusonics® to deliver audio specific to the individual, such as a personalized welcome message or information about relevant promotions eligible to that customer.

This interactive solution works accordingly:

  1. The NCheck VMS is used to enroll the person at a terminal, by taking a photo of the person and entering specific information such as their name.
  2. Photographic devices installed around the store will recognise the customer stood in the proximity of the directional speaker.
  3. Once the customer has been recognised, specific audio can then be directed towards the person. This information can be personalized text, which is fed through a text to speech generator to create a unique, personalized audio track based on the customer and their registration information.

To adopt this interactive solution, the only necessary specialized hardware required is a Focusonics® speaker, you can use regular computers, laptops, tablets, phones or cameras for the other tasks. A regular camera can be used for the initial registration picture, with a regular computer or laptop for the registration terminal with the Visitor Management System installed on it. The setup could even work on a mini PC such as the Intel NUC with a connected webcam.

This integration helps to maximize privacy and consent to the customer, as the personalized sound can be tailored according to the preferences set out by the customer during the onboarding process. If a customer opts against personalization, they can receive a more general audio compared to the customer’s who opt-in for personalization.

Linda Johansen-James, acclaimed retail expert from International Retail Group points out that:

“Retailers also must keep in mind that personalization should be balanced with respect for customer privacy and consent. As such, transparency and ethics are crucial when implementing personalization strategies”.

Linda Johansen-James

When used in conjunction with the NCheck VMS, the Focusonics® directional speakers can help to deliver a personalized experience only to those who have opted-in to receive such an experience.

How important is personalization within retail?

“Personalization has been proven to boost customer satisfaction, build brand loyalty, and increase the likelihood of purchases''

Jeanel Alvarado, the Founder and CEO of RETAILBOSS

Catering to “individual tastes and preferences while still maintaining a consistent brand experience” is invaluable to retailers in the 21st century, says Joseph Manktelow-Pimm, Fashion and Stylist Expert at 7Gents.

This is especially true for multicultural customers, many of whom would appreciate signage and product descriptions in their own chosen language. Research from Jack Mackinnon, Senior Director of Cultural Insights at Collage Group, found that 30% of Hispanic consumers prefer to shop in stores with Spanish signage. With The 2020 Census revealing 62.1 million Hispanics are currently living in the United States, this represents a significant potential target audience for retailers looking to extend into a new market demographic.

Which Focusonics® speaker is right for your store?

Focusonics® offer two directional speakers, the Model A and Model B. Both speakers utilize the same directional sound technology, but are designed with different purposes and uses in mind.

The Model A is suited for operations over distances of typically 3 to 15 meters. The Model A maintains directivity over larger distances, making it the ideal choice for larger stores. 

The Model B is well suited for shorter distances of 1 to 5 meter distances, such as applications where the speaker is installed on the speaker above the person’s head, perfect for conversation-level volumes of sound. 

How else is directional sound already being used?

Whilst this model of speaker is still very revolutionary and new to the retail industry, there are already a range of use cases where usage of this directional sound technology is already rather well established. These include but are not limited to:

If you are considering adopting directional sound technology into your business operations but are still unsure, our friendly team is on hand to offer personalized advice and assistance. Please contact us for all enquiries.

How to attract and maintain customer attention in Retail using Directional Sound
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