SalesTech Star

How Retailers Create The Ultimate Customer Experience With Audio-Out-Of-Home

By Paul Brenner, President and CSO at Vibenomics

It’s no secret that e-commerce has revolutionized the retail space by enhancing the customer experience with one-click ordering, free shipping and even faster delivery. Because e-commerce has enabled customers to purchase with ease, more people see in-store shopping as an inconvenience. ROI Revolution predicts online shopping will generate over $843 billion in sales in 2021 — much sooner than the original pre-pandemic forecast of 2025.

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With customers more accustomed to personalized online shopping experiences, retailers have recognized the need to reevaluate their in-store retail strategies and implement audio technology that allows them to create the personalized 1:1 shopping experiences their customers now expect.

In the past, legacy providers, like In-Store Audio Network (ISAN), have struggled to reinvent themselves, offering only basic analog radio as newer advertising mediums like OTT and programmatic display have come about. New  audio providers have chosen to heavily invest in Audio Out-of-Home (Audio OOH), a technology that plays premium music and programmatic advertisements in-store, providing retailers the opportunity to enrich the in-store customer experience. Audio OOH is viewed as an advanced retail media platform instead of just radio in-store. Considering audio ads drive 24% higher recall than display ads, audio has a direct impact on consumers, encouraging Audio OOH networks to emerge and reinvent the customer shopping experience for good.

The Broad Reach of Retail Media

Changing shopping behaviors are creating a rise in popularity of retail media by some of the world’s largest retailers like Kroger, Walmart and CVS. According to Epsilon, “A retail media network allows a retail brand to give their partner brands access to customers, using the retailer’s key assets: their first-party customer data and channels (including their website). With the retailer’s first-party data, brands can reach in-market buyers at the point of purchase, across formats and owned channels.”

Retail media networks don’t just provide an extra revenue source. Their ability to access first-party data positions them to dominate the retail space. As advertisers and marketers scramble to find alternatives to the looming extinction of third-party data and cookies, retail media is poised to enable marketers’ ability to reach consumers by creating exceptional shopping experiences.

Because retail media focuses primarily on reaching customers online via ads placed on retail websites, brick-and-mortar retailers don’t always have the same opportunities to deliver exceptional customer experiences. But with retail sales expected to reach $5.63 trillion in 2021, both shopping environments have an opportunity to thrive.

Even with e-commerce’s current prominence, online ordering generated only 7% of Kroger sales in Q2 2020. Customers won’t stop shopping in person, especially as states gradually loosen their pandemic restrictions. So, what strategies can brick-and-mortar stores capitalize on to deliver more personalized in-store experiences?

Why Retail Media Needs Audio OOH

To compete with online shopping trends, retailers must implement in-store strategies that mirror what their customers have come to expect from their online shopping experiences. Audio OOH offers retailers a unique opportunity to enhance customer experiences. By incorporating this technology into their retail plans, stores can broadcast curated music playlists tailored to their target demographic’s interests.

Audio OOH enables brands and retailers to boost their visibility with display and sponsored product ads. When combined with in-store messaging with music, this technology creates the perfect opportunity to influence customer buying decisions at the point of purchase.

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Point of Purchase: A Critical Opportunity to Influence Buyers

Twenty percent of shoppers change their minds at the point of purchase because they’re influenced by something they hear in the store. Effective messaging has relevance to the customers and their current buying needs. If someone’s purchasing milk, an ad for fishing gear likely won’t resonate. However, an ad for cleaning supplies or other food items might trigger a positive response. This personalized approach increases overall engagement while enabling retailers to influence their customers’ buying journeys.

Audio OOH extends retail media in brick-and-mortar stores by enabling brands to communicate directly with their customers at the point of purchase. Stores use this strategy to enhance the environment and create a unique and personalized shopping experience. Retailers using Audio OOH receive a higher ROI than from other forms of advertising media. Brands that choose to advertise on a specific store’s Audio OOH platform pay a fee for that advertising — of which the retailer receives a percentage.

Audio OOH and the Customer Experience

Consumers have high expectations for positive shopping experiences. Since customers make 70% of their purchase decisions in-store, retailers should use Audio OOH to enhance their shopping experience.

As companies like Google phase out third-party cookies and legislation continues developing new privacy regulations, advertisers must find alternatives to collecting data needed to create personalized customer experiences. Audio OOH technology enables brands to collect consumer data without invading privacy by relying on third-party cookies. Instead, Audio OOH uses SKU-level data to gather insights about consumer purchasing habits and expectations. Advertisers can use this information to create a more seamless in-store shopping experience — and help customers find the products they need, want or might impulse buy.

The retail landscape will continue evolving with customer expectations. To stay competitive, brick-and-mortar retailers should implement Audio-Out-Of-Home. This technology enables brands to talk to customers, influences buying decisions, and redefines the customer experience differently from other mediums.