Panphonics interview

Redactie AV & Domotica | 26 maart 2009
(Ingezonden mededeling)

Sound makes signage messages much more effective, but how can one avoid driving staff crazy with it?

As digital signage is becoming more pervasive, it is becoming more challenging to capture the attention of passers-by or clients. Sound makes this a lot easier, and also vastly improves message retention. But some questions remain: Would it be too much? What kind of sounds would be broadcast? ICA, the largest grocer and retailer in Sweden, with the help of directional audio by Panphonics, have installed special speakers around their 20 or so screens per store, to add sound to their advertising. We asked Mr. Fredrik Larsson, who is in charge of ICA`s DS project rollout and design, to describe their project...

We have been working on this digital media project for the past two and a half years. We started this implementation in order to communicate more efficiently with our customers across all ICA stores. We`re installing 18-20 screens per store, and we`re rolling out to around 100 stores in the next four months. We currently reach 3 million customers a week. We will be adding another 100-200 stores in the upcoming year reaching 4.5 million customers a week. Our ultimate goal is to inspire customers and drive their behavior in the stores. Last year, we had test speakers installed. Our findings show that sound coming from the screens will draw attention to the screen. However, sound in a grocery store can pollute the air. So since we didn`t want the sound to go everywhere, we opted for Panphonics` highly directional Sound Shower® audio speakers, which focus the sound when the customer approaches the screen and can view broadcasted content. So far the new speakers are a major improvement to other speakers. The basic feeling is that we now have a proper technical solution and can develop sound according. We will during the next 3-4 months develop sound to all our broadcasted content. 

The second reason is that we are also selling ad spaces on our OOH (Out Of Home) network, mostly to our suppliers. So it`s a combination of ICA`s content and suppliers` content. This is helpful for advertisers as they have a double impact - from commercials on the TV and also in the stores, right up to the time of purchase, thus having more of an active role in the customer`s buying decisions. That`s another reason for having a high level audio solution. 

Did you have any studies done on the effectiveness of this for your suppliers? 

The first test we did focused on the customer experience with an OOH network. The stores have a number of communication tools, so we first looked to see if the customers liked this new media. So far, we have had positive reactions. One encouraging commentary we had was from store owners who requested that we tell them ahead of time what products would be promoted so that they could stock their shelves accordingly.

Have you seen a rise in impulsive purchases?

Yes, we have seen it from the start. Products that are often used, such as milk and bread, will always be bought and receives a sales rise. In addition, what we`re looking at, as a first step, is to influence the purchase choices for products that are not bought at every visit, but are regularly needed. Detergent is a good example of this. You don`t buy it every week, but if we bring it up on the screen, it will drive sales tremendously. Also, it is evident that ads receives awareness rise as well. 

Source: Out of Home Digital Media SMARTreport, Feb-Jul 2009. 

For more information about Panphonics products visit /

Fredrik Larsson

Fredrik Larsson is a consultant in his own consultancy firm, AB Procssverkstad 17. He was previously a VP at The AF Group and CEO at QB Food Tech AB. He was recently brought onto ICA as Project Manager ICA Butiks-TV, to be in charge of the DOOH system. About Panphonics
Panphonics is the world`s leading provider of directional audio solutions. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Panphonics delivers targeted audio solutions for acoustically demanding applications. Panphonics Sound Shower® directional audio speakers can be found in banks, retail stores, digital signage projects, museums, information kiosks, service stations, theaters, and offices throughout the world. Panphonics is also a major component manufacturer and licensor of plane wave technology for industrial audio manufacturers and audio solution providers.
Olarinluoma 16
02200 Espoo, Finland
tel. + 358 9 8193 8560
fax + 358 9 8193 8561