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How LISNR Works with Retailers

The ways in which ultrasonic tech can deeply impact the retail environment are vast. Using inaudible ultrasonic data transmission, LISNR tones can facilitate deeper connections between retailers and customers that can result in a more relevant and seamless path to purchase. From powering connectivity, to rewards program identification, to location-based promotions, ultrasonic tech is increasingly the solution of choice to help craft a better in-store experience.

Before we dive in, how important is the in-store/brick and mortar experience? Turns out, very, with 62% of shoppers wanting to “see, touch, and feel products” before purchasing, and 49% stating they prefer to be able to shop offline in order to take a product home “right away.” With all of the focus on mobile and digital shopping, the customer journey is more complex than ever before, and involves a mix of online and offline behaviors. Shoppers use digital tools to research products, read reviews, and to aid in product consideration. Purchases are often still completed in-store, thereby underscoring the need for retailers to strengthen the digital/mobile and offline/in-store consumer touchpoints.  

That’s where ultrasonic tech comes in, to help refine the retail in-store experience. Here are a few use cases that delineate how inaudible tones are driving innovation in the retail space.

Device/Wifi Pairing

Retail establishments, and nearly always cafes and restaurants, offer consumers internet access when they visit their shop. For security reasons, a closed network is preferred, limited only to in-store visitors. The most common connection is via a password-enabled wifi connection. What becomes cumbersome is how consumers access the network and retrieve the password. Consumers need to actively search for the password, often hastily scribbled on a piece of paper hanging somewhere in-store, ask the sales rep, or maybe find it on a receipt. The experience is anything but seamless. Using inaudible LISNR tones, the password can be “embedded” in the retailer’s app (e.g., Starbucks), and connect users automatically and securely when they are in-store, thus avoiding the “where’s the password” hassle.  


An important part of the retail customer experience is rewards programs, which incentivizes customer transactions and creates loyalty. Users are identified and rewards are assigned by presenting a membership card. The problem is, the cards are cumbersome and tough to keep track of, especially when you consider that consumers are members of multiple rewards programs. One way that users are authenticated is by providing their phone number, but with growing privacy concerns, not every consumer wants to use their phone number.

Additionally, for rewards programs that offer consumers special promotions, coupons or cash offers associated with their account, the membership card turns into an item of value that puts rewards at risk if stolen. Enter LISNR tones, which allow seamless authentication of a consumer’s rewards association via data transmitted over audio tones “embedded” in the app. Users simply open their retailer-specific app (e.g., CVS app, Starbucks app), and their identity is automatically verified and rewards assigned accordingly.

Proximity Marketing

With the onset of digital and mobile, convenience is emerging as more important than brand loyalty, making location-based marketing more important than ever before. 82% of shoppers have done a “near me” search on their cell phones, thereby favoring “coffee near me” over “Starbucks” when they are on the go. Given how geolocation is playing a central role in the customer journey, it is imperative that retailers effectively leverage the in-store experience to drive users further down the purchase path.

Some retailers have experimented with installing beacons in-store, but despite the initial excitement, beacons have been slow to catch on. Implementations are complex and cost prohibitive. Another solution at play, Bluetooth, is a power-hungry tech that consumers often turn off — dramatically decreasing effectiveness.

What’s needed is a simple, easy to implement solution that relies only on existing infrastructure. That’s where LISNR comes in. Ultrasonic waves transmit data to devices within a multitude of ranges. Easy to deploy, LISNR tones don’t require a network connection, wifi or Bluetooth technology; all that’s needed are speakers and a microphone. Any app that utilizes LISNR tones can send promotions in real time. Tones can be integrated into backend CRM systems and retail-specific apps to broadcast relevant offers to customers within range. Unique to LISNR is our Precision KAB, powering the ability to micro-target in-store offers down to what aisle the user is visiting. Consumers in the “Baby” aisle will not receive “Pets” related promotions, and vice versa. This makes it precise, simple, and low hassle.

Access Control

A relatively new touchpoint for consumers are lockers at a self-service physical location used to pick up and return store packages purchased online. Users select a locker location as their delivery address, and retrieve their orders at that location by entering a unique pick-up code on the locker touch screen. Lockers can also process returns in the same way, with a unique code unlocking a specific locker. In order for access control to function smoothly, consumers need to actively request, store, and provide their unique code to the locker location. Consumers might print their codes, or pull them up via email, making this an inconvenient step in an otherwise smooth delivery process. By using ultrasonic tones, the unique code can be embedded in the retail app (e.g., Amazon Prime), eliminating the hassle associated with passcode storage and retrieval.

Paving the way…

As shoppers increasingly demand a smoother path-to-purchase across online and offline retail channels, brands need to revisit key areas of the customer journey to ensure a positive, frictionless experience. Ultrasonic tech has the potential to revolutionize key aspects of the brick and mortar shopping experience, from rewards programs, to authentication, to proximity marketing. 

Want to learn more about how to improve access, loyalty, and marketing efforts in retail? Get in touch to connect with our team and explore how ultrasonic tech can help your business.