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How Sound Affects Your Retail Environment
| 11 Oct

Designing with our senses is an important aspect of retail design as we use our senses to make judgement on whether we like a brand and their products or services. As many designers tend to focus solely on the visual aesthetics of a retail interior space, sound is often left disregarded although there are many benefits to developing and implementing an effective soundscape. Here are 4 factors to consider when designing sound for your retail and hospitality interior design:

1) Productivity

According to The Sound Agency, research has shown improving people’s auditory environments can increase productivity by up to 200%. Employees who are content, happy and positive tend to make fewer mistakes and work more effectively producing a better quality of output. Having a tailored soundscape not only reduces downtime and improves morale but also reinforces group unity and strengthens culture.

2) Sales

Badly designed sounds can drive consumers away and heavily impact on the amount of sales your business makes. Most of the sound from environments such as homeware stores or busy shopping centres is accidental although there are methods to control this through the quality and quantity of sound. Designing soundscapes which reflect the values of your brand and positively influence shoppers’ moods can increase retail sales by up to 10%.

3) Customer Satisfaction

Sound can subconsciously affect our mood and behaviour when interacting with brands which, in turn, can generate both good and bad reviews. A noisy coffee shop will not achieve the right environment for someone looking for a quiet and leisurely coffee, for example. However, if the coffee shop is zoned and each zone adopts a different noise level and atmosphere, this same person can have a far more relaxing and positive experience. Sound can determine the success of an in-store experience. A good experience will lead to a positive perception and ultimately to brand growth.

4) Brand Value

A strong brand is consistent in many aspects and stays true to delivering its brand promise through the five senses: touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. Major brands including Intel, Toshiba and Volkswagen have all developed recognisable sounds which allow consumers to identify their brand without the visual identity present, strengthening their brand values.

Sound is a major contributing factor to the perception of your brand. It is just as important as the visual identity and should be appropriate to the brand and work in conjunction with other brand elements. Sound affects many factors within retail and hospitality environments and is a vital sense that can influence our mood and behaviour towards a brand.

By Dawood Pathan

For further advice on your retail or hospitality design, contact Offbeat Creative at hello@offbeatcreative.co.uk or call 020 7060 3121