AV tech provides therapy for retail

The retail industry needs to provide shoppers with experiences to entice them off their laptops and into stores and AV technologies are coming to the rescue. Anna Mitchell explores interactive signage, atmospheric audio and sophisticated control solutions on the high street.

The retail industry has taken a battering recently. Global recession, online competition and even the weather are all factors that force shoppers off the streets. The "Sale" signs seem to be going up with more frequency as retailers try to entice shoppers through their doors. And, in some areas the "For Sale" signs go up as outlets shut due to a lack of trade.

But, against this gloomy background many AV companies are enjoying healthy levels of business from this bruised sector. So what technologies are in demand and why are they so important for the retail market?

Abdulla Alansari, executive director of Qatar based integrator Techno Q, says: "Almost all retailers today are equipping their stores with background music systems, CCTV security systems, intrusion alarms and anti-shoplifting sensors. The integration of these systems is pretty much a standard requirement for the retail industry.

There’s also an increasing ability to manage AV assets over a network. This is a huge advantage to retailers that need to create coherent brand identities throughout stores in locations that are in different towns or cities and, in some cases, countries and continents apart.

However, integrators do face challenges, the main complaint being lack of budget. An installation in a shop must provide a return on investment and it’s easy for a retailer to see what effect any technology might have. It also means many will be careful with selections, knowing that a bad choice will have an obvious impact.

But when budgets are forthcoming the desire to stand out from the crowd makes it an exiting industry to work in with numerous examples of innovative and experimental projects. This provides a fantastic opportunity for AV equipment suppliers to be really inventive and creative with solutions they offer.

As shoppers migrate out of stores and online AV can be used to create welcoming environments and attract shoppers. Kiosks can even be used to allow customers access to information and provide buying options that would usually be accessed on the internet. These technologies become more important when you are selling something that can’t be held, looked at or tried in a shop.

AV has so much to offer the retail industry and, now more than ever, it is time for retailers to embrace technologies that will attract and retain shoppers whilst encouraging them to spend. From the attention-grabbing screen in the window, to the atmospheric in-store audio and various interactive and engaging displays, AV is all around you when you hit the high street. It has the power to make shopping an experience worth going to town for.

To read about these aspects and more, including digital signage and innovative audio solutions, from some of the key players in the retail sector view the full article in InAVate’s online magazine.


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