In-Store Overhead Messaging for Customer Engagement

In-store messaging is one of your most powerful tools as a business owner.

While your customers are browsing through your store, you want them to enjoy the experience, which includes being informed about all the promotional offers, events, specials, and brand details to help them make decisions. However, you do not want to overwhelm shoppers with visual information. Too many large banner ads, written details, and sales signs can create visual clutter, and that can create a sense of disorganization in your store.

You’ve worked hard to create an appealing interior design, and you want to make sure your customers feel relaxed while they browse your products. Although some written in-store messaging is important, overhead messaging is also a great tool. Your customers can listen to a soothing or passionate voice briefly describe upcoming specials or events, which can keep them focused on your brand.

Research About In-Store Overhead Messaging and Brand Engagement

Many businesses have used in-store overhead messaging to engage their customers for years, but how this form of messaging is implemented is changing. More storefronts, grocery stores, gyms, salons, and retail outlets are learning that their customers want an immersive experience, which allows them to relax while also taking advantage of convenient in-store help.

Of course, knowledgeable staff, easy-to-access items, interior design, and music are all core components of creating a vibrant and engaging in-store experience.

Some music streaming services are set up to allow you to insert your own messaging, which can be tailored as part of your overall experiential marketing plan.

Experiences in your store can change how your customers feel about your brand, which can, in turn, influence their buying decisions. While much experiential marketing focuses on one-on-one experiences between your brand and your customers, you can create messaging that focuses on your customer demographic, so they can feel like you speak to them directly.

In-store messaging, both written and spoken, is important for engaging customers, but you should be savvy about how much of every type of in-store messaging you use at any time. Generally, people browsing in stores will remember: 10 percent of what they read; 20 percent of what they hear; 30 percent of what they see; 50 percent of what they both see and hear; 70 percent of what they say and write themselves; and 90 percent of what they do.

Much experiential marketing is about engaging customers, so they actively engage with your brand, helping them remember you more clearly. However, to help shoppers know about these experiences, you can use in-store overhead messaging to speak directly to them. They will remember a large amount of what they hear in your store, especially if they both see and hear it.

It is important to combine in-store overhead messaging, through your sound system, with visual stimuli about your brand. One report examined how customers’ eyes tracked across in-store visual messaging and found that shoppers tended to look at information for less than a second before their visual field went elsewhere. Of course, shoppers who are slower and more deliberate will take the time to read details about products that they may not otherwise be interested in, but this is a rare occurrence. Getting your customers’ attention through auditory cues alongside interesting visual marketing can give people in your store information about your brand, keep them in the store longer, and even encourage them to return later for other sales, events, or experiences.

But why should you market your own brand in your own store? This may seem counterintuitive – you’ve already drawn a shopper into your store, and you’ve done a lot to make sure they enjoy the experience. However, marketing a little more with verbal and written in-store messages can do a lot. Studies have found that 82 percent of purchasing decisions are made in-store, not off a predetermined list; 62 percent of shoppers impulse buy while they are shopping; 47 percent of shoppers reported using a mental list; 34 percent of shoppers reported not using a list at all; and 16 percent of these unplanned purchases are driven by promotions heard or seen in the store.

Effectively Creating Recorded In-Store Overhead Messaging for Your Shoppers

Essentially, you can leverage how much your customers like you already, translate that into helping them find products or services that they didn’t know they wanted or needed, and encourage them to engage with, and purchase, these new products.

However, effective in-store overhead messaging should not take a lot of time. Your shoppers will stop listening to your advertising fairly quickly, so it is important to keep verbal, recorded messages short and to the point. Tell them what they need to know, what they want to know, and when they must act on the information.

Here are some key points about in-store overhead messaging:

  • Play the message at the right time.
  • Keep the message short.
  • Give your shoppers what they want.
  • Make sure the message is professional.
  • Remove messages when they are no longer relevant.

Speaking directly to shoppers in your store does not have to exclusively involve sales or promotional events. You can tell them about hashtags, your social media accounts, or partner businesses they may be interested in.

In a modern, digital world where most of your customers will have smartphones and tablets, you can consider ways to include online or social engagement in your in-store overhead messaging.

The tone you use in your recorded messages can also drive your shoppers’ demographic to engage with you differently. For example, when the Denny’s Twitter account became humorous in 2014, they increased their followers by 132 percent. While this specific approach may not work for your specific shoppers, the tone of your in-store overhead messaging, the visual in-store messaging, and messaging through social media can all be combined to create one, ongoing experience with your brand, which encourages customers to return.


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