Any professional with a focus in sales, marketing or consumer behavior, could probably tell you a list of methods throughout history that have been used to convince the masses to (for lack of a more eloquent phrase) “buy lots of stuff.” Entire teams of people are employed in the workforce for the sole purpose of devising the best way to consistently draw in and retain customers for whatever it is their respective company provides.
Putting things in a somewhat broad manner, approaches for getting customer attention usually fall in two types of categories:
A) Direct and Clear
Someone or something tells or asks you to buy/participate in something.
B) Indirect and/or contextual
Situational conditions or behaviors encourage purchasing. For example, if a sales person uses a certain tone, vocabulary or dialogue…dresses in a certain manner…it provides more trust and confidence in the seller/buyer relationship.
FeONIC Technology is one name that may not be well known to the everyday crowd, (particularly in America) but this company is looking to expand the ‘indirect’ sales method in a way that could come across as almost irresistibly inviting. Their tech of choice are speakers but their whole angle is about “invisible audio.” For individual, domestic use, FeONIC provides four different types of setups that are described as follows from their company blog:
Flat Panel Speakers: Turn surfaces into speakers. Many materials for multiple applications.
Invisible Speakers: Installed behind or under surfaces. Nothing can be seen.
In Wall Speakers: The drive is inside a wall cavity. Requires more effort to install but with the option of our own honeycomb panels for extra performance.
Hidden Speakers: The drive is visible but is easily installed out of sight. Fits in minutes without plastering and decorating. A great solution where fitting behind a panel or a drywall board would be too difficult or expensive. The drives need to be mounted about 18 inches from the floor, so can easily be hidden by other features in the room. Remember, the entire panel they are attached to becomes a flat panel speaker.
In terms of what these do for sales with music, one other branch of FeONIC’s products includes their “Whispering Windows.” These are also referred to as vibration speakers, which are promoted for commercial purposes; particularly for using in store window displays.
FeONIC’s blog suggests that users of its tech can not only play music but use their speakers to play “retail sales or marketing messages.” Add in factors of less distraction because “the sound is evenly distributed throughout the surface” and FeONIC may have found the perfect pitch for keeping both customers and store owners happy with their shopping experiences.
As reported by Dvice.com, the latest in active Whispering Windows are being used by clothing retailer, Gap.
“…Gap is rolling out “Whispering Windows” in its flagship stores across Europe to promote its denim via a new ad campaign with music at its core. …[the campaign is] centered around music and “jookin” dance artist Lil’ Buck. The store windows have six 46-inch LCD screens of the artist dancing, so the invisible speakers seem to work in conjunction with the view.”
For the time being, music at non-abrasive levels is certainly harmless enough for getting consumer attention, and fits well within the expectation of having sound while you shop. (Maybe Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch can get onboard and change volume vectors?)
Who knows, if Whispering Windows take off, perhaps one day composers will be commissioned by companies to write songs with lyrics that include store slogans, sales or other promotional texts to combine music with sales material.
Below, watch a short video explaining how FeONIC turns various surfaces into these sound transducers.
Kira is an old school music nerd with a love for all things creative; always searching for music’s common ground. She graduated with an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. Drop her a tweet @shadowmelody1