When you go into a high street shop you’ve normally gone in to buy something, to browse, or (the worst case scenario) you’re accompanying someone else to do the same! Most of the time, we don’t give our shopping experience a great deal of thought.
High street retailing is no longer just about selling product – it’s virtually a science in itself, and shopping is much more than a list - it's a leisure activity! Technology has been embraced by retailers to monitor customers buying patterns, to monitor their movement around the store and to direct them to specific areas - all in a bid to maximise sales.
Retail In-Store Marketing with Music, Radio and Messaging
One of the latest ‘technologies’ to be introduced to the high street is in the sphere of in-store marketing and multiple retailers at the top end of the spectrum are sitting up and listening - quite literally! That’s because in-store radio is one of the most recent – and effective – sales and marketing tools to be unleashed in the high street.
In it’s very basic form, in-store radio is pre-recorded music and messages on CD that are repeatedly played in a store. So what’s new about that? Well, modern in-store radio is a whole different ball game as it’s instant, flexible and convenient. And it works by increasing sales. That’s a big claim to make, but PEL Music and Media, owner of the ‘Mediainstore’ radio system, has been conducting trials with some of the major high street department stores and the results are extremely positive.
What’s different about the modern breed of in-store radio is its exceptional flexibility and immediacy. ‘MEDIAinSTORE’, for example, uses the latest foolproof audio scheduling technology, enabling it to transmit radio programmes to every location that is set up to receive the service. There is no limit to the number of stores – even independent retailers with as little as a single store can benefit from the service. Content can be stored digitally, allowing for regular updates by ADSL, Broadband or CD, making the system far less vulnerable from equipment failure than other broadcast methods, and also making it extremely fast in the case of ADSL and Broadband.
Because of this incredible flexibility, in-store radio can be used to broadcast to all branches simultaneously to present the impression of a dedicated, live radio station, or it can meet individual store needs, such as specific regional promotions or events.
In-Store Radio = Unlimited Sales Opportunities!
In-store radio helps retailers make the best of every sales opportunity with minimum effort. And what opportunities there are!
Think about a hot summer’s day, for example. Why not use radio to promote the range of cold drinks in the cool air conditioned café? What a lovely thought for weary shoppers, who may not even have realised there was a café in the store! In fact, with in-store radio, all of the store’s facilities can be promoted, from personal shoppers and credit cards, through to sale items and special offers. And they can be changed cost effectively from week to week or even day to day.
So for sales and marketing, in-store radio is a dream. But it’s also a great way to reinforce a retailer’s branding and help differentiate themselves from the fierce competition on the high street.
PEL Music & Media - Connecting "Sound" to "Branding"
A retailer’s ’sound’ is as unique to their brand as are their logos and in-store design. Whilst retailers have long been aware that the ambient mix in their stores is essential in targeting the right customers and securing sales, sound has often taken a back seat. With modern in-store radio, creating a sound that is unique to a retailer is now both possible and, just as importantly, cost-effective. As part of the ‘MEDIAinSTORE’ service for example, PEL Music & Media works closely with retailers to understand their precise requirements and the type of environment they want to create. From here PEL creates a play list, advertisements and promotional messages to match this exact ambience, all played in-store using ‘MEDIAinSTORE’ software. It’s very much a tailor made service, rather than off the shelf CD packages which used to be the norm.
But a dedicated radio station sounds like it’s going to take a big chunk out of the budget. Fear not, as much of the interest in in-store radio is actually coming from the finance departments – and they know how to get value for money! Assuming a store already has a sound system in place, in-store radio costs very little when you consider how much retailers spend on visual in-store marketing collateral. Unlike graphics which have to be designed, printed, delivered to each store, put up, then taken down and replaced, with in-store radio you have a one-off payment for the hardware and then simply pay for the music, ad or promo voice-over service (the audio equivalent of the visual ‘design’ aspect). There’s no print, no delivery costs, no need for staff intervention. And when you think about it, this also makes it more environmentally friendly than graphics – an added bonus.
The other benefit is that in-store radio doesn’t interfere with our visual sense – its not detracting from the stock and the look of the environment and takes up absolutely no space in the shop itself.
Real Benefits for Retailers
Retailers up and down the country are seeing the benefits to be had from in-store radio. JD Sports, for example, installed ‘MEDIAinSTORE’ into its store in The Trafford Centre, Manchester. JD went a step further and used the system to not only provide up-to-the-minute music but also to drive banks of LCD screens (also known as Video Walls). These AV screens were installed by PEL in various strategic points around the store, on which they display in-store ads, graphics and exclusive product. The images, which are fed via a single feed into each column, appear simultaneously around the store thanks to ‘MEDIAinSTORE’s’ use of a screen matrix system. The music can also be linked to the imagery.
JD Sports chose the system because of its ability to handle audio and video simultaneously and process music updates quickly, efficiently and simply via an ftp site every month. Content is stored digitally, which enables substantially more music to be saved to the hard drive allowing greater music scheduling.
With high street retailers feeling the pinch, adopting in-store radio to maximise sales, reinforce branding and make the shopping experience a more pleasurable one is surely a trick not to be missed!
‘MEDIAinSTORE’ is available exclusively from PEL Music & Media. It can be used with any in store AV system and has the added backing of PEL’s 35 years of experience in the design, supply, installation and maintenance of sound systems. For sales information please contact PEL Music & Media on 0333 123 2100