Arguably the most underutilised sensory mode in retail, we look at how brands are using sound to create multi-dimensional stores that help consumers explore, immerse and evoke emotional responses from spaces and products.
Sound can have a direct effect on our emotions. With the potential to influence our perception of depth, speed and motion, music can change how we view our environment. Independent Hearing Professionals have found that this strong tie to emotion is correlated strongly with the memories we associate with sound.
One of music’s most influential minds, Brian Eno, concluded that music has the power to soothe the nerves and stress of flyers and created the ‘Music for Airports’ albums, concluding that,
music can have physical and emotional effects on our health.
Speaker brand Sonos has been influential in using sound to immerse consumers in their products. A recent collaboration with IKEA explored how sound effects our emotions in an immersive theatre pop up. Each space was designed to represent a specific part of the brain with the sound having a ‘transformative effect’ on our perception. A bizarre trip into the inside of the brain helped guests connect with not only their sense but each other, emphasising both companies desire to use their brands to build community.
Investigating how music is evolving in retail, we look to Urban Revive in London’s Westfield. The store strategically places speakers that play soundscapes from Chinese cities, immersing consumers with the heritage of the brand. Designed by Domania Architecture, the urbanised has ‘sonic sensors are interactive, allowing visitors to engage with the product in an entirely new way.
Redefining the meaning of retail therapy, jewellery store Hoorsenbuhs’ in LA, gives consumers the chance to relax and be immersed in a sound bath before or after purchase. With a meditation dome on the roof, guests can choose to bathe in sound, reflect or even play on a small skate ramp, highlighting the luxuries venture into creating exceptional retail experiences.
In a society where technology trends are changing in rapid succession, the ability to adapt and emote is key in creating sustainable change. With many retail brands and stores wanting to create unique and immersive experiences, experimenting with sound should be imperative. Using either personalised platforms or reflecting a brand’s heritage, music adds another dimension for a consumer to explore and connect.
Throughout Covid-19, the beauty industry has stepped up for its community and will continue to forge forward and reimagine the way we connect, commune and care for each other.
In a time of crisis, brands have a genuine role to play. Brands must show responsibility to their consumers, their employees and communities as they navigate uncertain times. Is a time for collective effort and creativity. It is a time for ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’.