Creating Retail Spaces Where Customers Linger Longer

Brick and mortar retailers were already losing market share before COVID. Then the pandemic came along with its shutdowns, and it seemed like the final blow had been delivered. Even Baby Boomers were hooked on Amazon.

Would anyone ever feel safe again shopping indoors in a boutique or mall?

Sadly, many stores have not survived. But since the vaccines were rolled out, retail has been invigorated by the knowledge that customers are eager to be back in person. As the economy continues to open up, many shoppers are showing they prefer in-store retail. They want to see what they’re purchasing in person and speak to a sales representative.

Small stores and shopping centers alike have been responding to renewed interest with refurbished spaces that adhere to safety protocols—and strategic design choices that enable their brands to shine in a competitive marketplace. Acoustics have never been more important in creating a comfortable setting where customers will linger longer and purchase goods.

Along with lighting, merchandise layout, color, smell, texture and music, ambient sound is a key component of retail atmospherics,” a marketing device identified in 1973 by Philip Kotler. Atmospherics are controllable features that can influence a consumer's mood and increase the odds that they will make purchases.

Nearly all retail stores use atmospherics, even if they are subtle. But not all retail designers focus enough on the impact of acoustics on the shopping experience.

Consumers will want to get in and out quickly (or shop elsewhere) if the acoustics have been poorly executed. Noise is the enemy in interior spaces, but total silence is not the end goal especially in retail projects. Retail spaces come in many shapes and sizes. Snowsound acoustical products are designed to reduce unwanted reverberation. That’s the key to creating the most acoustically comfortable shopping environments. Explore Snowsound retail applications here.

Hard finishes reflect the most sound, but retail designers want to be on trend or need to take their cues from the persona and mood of a brand, and that hard surfaces may do that better. But if specifying a lot of hard surfaces, sound absorption is critically important. Snowsound has a wide array of options that deliver the right amount of sound absorption for all retail spaces whatever the style.

A cozy, intimate vibe where sales associates can be easily heard is created with soft finishes that absorb sound: carpets, upholstered seats, wallcoverings, drapes, etc. Snowsound can help solve any lingering sound issues in these spaces and eliminate uncomfortable reverberations in much larger and extremely challenging spaces with club music, mainly hard finishes and exposed ceilings.

Snowsound’s line-up of aesthetically pleasing and technically superior products includes wall-hung, ceiling suspended and movable panels that absorb reverberations so shoppers can talk to each other at a comfortable volume and also hear what salespeople are saying when they ask questions about the merchandise.

According to Retail4Growth, which talked to retail design experts, these are some of the trends that will shape retail design in 2021:

  • Sustainability and eco-friendly finishes and construction methods
  • Minimalistic and sophisticated merchandising
  • An inclusive approach that uses digital data to reduce redundancies in the physical world
  • Customized touch points to reach a diversity of consumers

Trends come and go, but the desire to feel acoustically comfortable in every retail setting never goes out of style. Architects and designers who can help their retail clients with this issue impacting the bottom line are truly valued. Retailers that recognize the importance of acoustical comfort will succeed in building brand loyalty and deliver shopping experiences where customers linger longer—and make more purchases.

If you are working on a retail design project, learn more about Snowsound’s technology, modular solutions and eco-friendly features here.

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