Cutting Through the Noise Using Retail Audio Advertising
THE EASING OF COVID sanctions sent droves of shoppers back to physical stores, convinced that a bit of retail therapy would provide a cure for their two-year bout with cabin fever. The most recent numbers from Statistics Canada reveal that in-store purchases account for 93.5% of monthly retail activity.
The resurgence of brick-and-mortar shopping has been welcomed by shop owners large and small and has given them the opportunity to synergize their online and offline sales channels. The quarantine highlighted consumers’ demand for multisensory buying experiences, and no other medium fortifies the digital retail communications connection more than overhead audio advertising.
Overhead — or in-store — digital audio messaging is a major component of retail media, the fastest-rising channel in the digital marketing industry according to Insider Intelligence. It combines music, ambient noises and voiceover messaging to set the tone for an unforgettable shopping experience while delivering up-to-the-minute product information and store promotions. In a crowded store environment, retail audio advertising offers the only communications vehicle shoppers cannot — and do not want to — tune out. Retail audio marketing reaches everyone, no matter where they are in the store.
I was recently walking home from the dog park with my furbaby, Lelo, when I remembered I needed to pick some things up for dinner. With the good girl in tow, I grabbed a basket and filled my order. Keeping a watchful eye on the pup and carefully balancing my meal ingredients in my arms, there was no way I could read the aisle signs or examine product labels. But I could still listen, and one of the retail audio messages I heard resonated. It advertised an ice cream brand I’d been eager to try. After a quick detour to the freezer section, we not only had dinner taken care of, but dessert as well.
That’s the power of in-store digital audio advertising.
And it’s not just me.
The Path to Purchase Institute’s survey found that nearly three out of four shoppers notice in-store audio ads and 48% say they often seek out and consider purchasing the brands they hear promoted over retail audio — about the same engagement rate as ads on video monitors and digital screens.
What’s more, in-store audio advertising is an equally effective channel for non-endemic brands. Whether it’s a movie release, a travel provider, a new car launch or a communications company, non-endemic advertisers can enjoy all of the same benefits as brands that are available for purchase in-store.
Brands and stores seeking to boost sales through retail audio advertising can maximize their return on investment by following best practices. Now, let’s delve into the strategies that can help you harness the full potential of in-store digital audio advertising based on what I’ve observed from an industry leader.
1. Engage often. In-store audio can not only increase sales and basket size, but it can also optimize shoppers’ journeys by allowing advertisers to communicate with customers throughout their shopping trip. Overhead messages that direct consumers to popular products and store departments (audio wayfinding) are particularly welcome and effective at driving buying decisions.
2. Consider programmatic. Retail audio advertising is particularly well-suited to programmatic technology that captures real-time and longitudinal data to automate message content and timing.
4. Customize content. Consider your store’s identity; for instance, a bed and bath shop wouldn’t play heavy metal music or deliver bombastic overhead messages. Be sure to strike the perfect chord and match your customers’ expectations.
5. Measure precisely. To measure the effectiveness of in-store audio advertising accurately, consider using technology that calculates average hourly impressions per day, based on transaction volume data, additional factors and venue-specific dwell factors. These measurements can help you compare the impact of in-store audio advertising against other elements of your marketing strategy.
6. Leverage proximity. Since in-store audio advertising engages shoppers as they browse, it has the unique ability to transform proximity into purchases, influencing their decisions while they’re aisles away — not miles away. Brands can own the purchase funnel with a single format that delivers upper-funnel brand objectives while driving lower-funnel shopper marketing outcomes.
Digital retail audio advertising establishes a direct connection with shoppers throughout the store, enabling instant influence and conversions. Almost 85% of the shoppers surveyed said they consider purchasing the products they hear about on in-store audio messages. To enhance your in-store audio marketing strategy, explore the potential of audio out-of-home (AOOH) solutions, drawing inspiration from pioneers like Stingray advertising.
By strategically integrating AOOH into the ambient in-store music delivery system, you can create compelling experiences that ensure effective message management and scheduling, ultimately maximizing impact for your business development and revenue-streaming campaigns.