03 Aug Sound in Digital Merchandising: A Laser Beam Not a Spotlight
So, you’re thinking about implementing a digital merchandising solution in the retail environment?
You’ve got the hardware picked out, you know what your content is going to look like, but have you thought about sound? You may say, “Well, of course it’s going to have sound.” Great, but, have you determined how your users will experience the sound? Here are a couple tips to help you get a better understanding of the best and the worst ways to use sound in your digital merchandising unit.
Don’t use sound as a spotlight
How many times have you been walking down the aisles of a department store and realize you are in the kids’ toys section because you hear the sound of a toy screaming “POW!” or “Take that!” over and over again. While it may be whimsical and adoring at first, after the fourth or fifth time, you wish you could rip the batteries out of the toy.
Unfortunately, many digital merchandising units employ motion activated sensors that light the unit up and play sound when someone walks past. They’re a lot like those candy bowls at Halloween time that play bewitching sounds when you put your hand in the bowl. This approach is sure to distract and maybe even shock customers. However, no one wants to be yelled at from across the room or bombarded with noise.
You don’t want the user, store personnel, or other in-store customers to be annoyed by the unit. Irritating sound can drive customers away and cause store personnel to sabotage, unplug, or break the unit. Sound shouldn’t be used as a tactic to attract users to the unit.
Use sound like a laser beam
Instead, use silent, graphic-based attract loops to get the user interacting with the device. Then, employ sound to enhance the user’s interaction. Sound can focus attention on specific items or move a user through a complex on-screen interaction. Use audio cues to indicate selections made or progress to a new screen.
Use sound in a digital merchandising unit strategically. One of our clients introduced the sound of a bird chirping or car driving by on one of their units to subtly grab the user’s attention. Be intentional, don’t annoy users, and you’ll leave a good impression of your brand and products.