Sounds Like…

When it comes to digital signage and the dimension of audio in the environment, you are bound to see that sound has the ear of many, and important boundaries for others. It would be nice if we could provide a hard and fast rule when it comes to audio enhancements of your dynamic messaging. But we can’t. We can, however, give you the retail environment “rules of thumb” and bend your ear a bit on ways to implement this worthy tool.

First, it helps to think of audio as sugar in your content recipe. You may not need it, and if you add too much, it is just too much. And like sugar, it can add a great deal of appeal, and assist in delivery – the way a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down… In the most delightful way!

Second, you can simply destroy your employees as though using some wicked form of torture, if you play the same audio track over and over and have no way to limit the sound to a particular environment. This is a fact. And it leads to manual disengagement, as in, the volume is turned off.

Third, however, is the new research showing that comprehension, attention, and retention are improved with a good music and voiceover track. In fact, a music bed helps to deepen the experience, and depending on your system objectives, it can enhance a brand’s style.

And Fourth, audio will often reach a client before they are aware of a screen. What you have then is the power to draw eyes to your digital display that much earlier.  

So, how do you compromise between engaging the ears, and saving your employees’ sanity? You can and should give serious consideration to a sound cone which hangs over your display, and presents sound waves in a tight dimension around your system. Only when someone is within a few feet of the display can they hear the music. In addition, motion detectors can assure the sound plays only when someone is present.

We like the Cone of Silence offered by Interface Group. The patented design delivers a column of sound directly below the sphere providing crisp clear stereo sound. Outside the column, sound level drops 80% so that adjacent patrons are not bothered by the audio content.  In fact, the Library Journal supplement publication Library By Design featured this product for the library system. So if it works for a librarian, it will work great for your clients as well!

The audio component of your presentation gives you a distinct advantage when it comes to edutainment content. Without music, most material falls a bit flat. Test this yourself: play a movie trailer with and without audio. The impact of a good music score can’t be taken lightly. But if you have no way to control the audio either by motion or a “cone of silence” then you run the risk of creating a negative where there was a positive impression. In your needs analysis, look at your environment and the factors above.

That’s very sound advice 😉

Store Visual Planning, Part 4

This is the 4th in a series of posts to provide tips and knowledge to make you a better merchandiser. You will want to start with the first posts if you have not already been following this topic. Click the links here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Now you are ready for Part 4, the Cash Wrap Zone!

Where is the Cash Wrap Zone?

    • Commonly called the “Cash Wrap,” the Cash Zone is where purchases are made. It is likely that every patron in the door will ultimately wind up in line at the Cash Zone. This is then the highly trafficked spot. Rather than center it in your retail environment, place it to the left of the store center.
    • The cash wrap also serves as a security checkpoint and as an area that can allow visibility to all parts of the store. When designing the cash wrap area, keep in mind the many functions that will be accommodated by the space and plan accordingly.
    • Add-on and impulse merchandise should be placed above, behind, and near the cash wrap where possible. The cash wrap is the location that offers the most captive audience (a waiting customer) and is the point at which impulse sales are most often made.
    • From a design for Ralph Lauren stores: “Behind the cash wrap counter is the Ralph Lauren logo on an animated light box that dances through the spectrum of colors that are available in the cosmetics line….The experience is focused on the cash wrap. By doing this, the purchase of cosmetics becomes the climatic build of the shopping experience and the woman’s exit from the store becomes a reaffirming act as she takes her place back on street level.”

    The fifth and final installment of our Store Visual Planning series is up next! Stay tuned next month for “Creative Merchandising!”