No matter the purchase, today’s shoppers use the Internet to research and find the best deals—before they shop, and even while they’re in a store. 81 percent conduct online research before buying, and a whopping 75 percent of store shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping in-store.

Recognizing changes in shoppers’ behavior, earlier this year Visa challenged startups to find new digital solutions for several key business initiatives. LISNR was tapped to help Visa drive digital commerce and develop a new way to make mobile payments.

Given how prevalent the Internet is in just about every buying decision, it’s no wonder retailers and brands are looking for new ways to connect with customers in-store and online — especially by using technology.

A Brief History of Shopping Technology

Near field communication (NFC) is a form of wireless communication between electronic devices. One of NFC’s biggest benefits was the premise of simply tapping your smartphone to check out and pay at a store. Despite NFC technology being available for over a decade, adoption has been surprisingly slow. Part of the delay has been due to NFC technology needing to be embedded in devices. Android phones integrated the capability first, with Apple Pay coming to iOS devices just last year.

Much focus has been on using NFC technology to easily and securely make payments. However, there are other ways to use technology to enhance the shopping experience that don’t require additional hardware.

The Retail Moment

It’s important to note that once shoppers are inside a brick-and-mortar location, it’s highly likely they’re ready to make a buying decision. There is a tremendous opportunity for retailers and brands to capitalize on those moments leading up to a purchase with a customer experience that is highly personalized and customized to their needs.

Bluetooth beacons were initially seen as a way to deliver targeted and relevant in-store experiences. But those applications have proved tricky, due in part to Wi-Fi connectivity requirements and proximity issues.

But because of new technology that delivers messaging, data and video over ultrasonic frequencies that can be heard by any device equipped with speakers, proximity-based and hyper-targeted enhanced experiences are quickly becoming a reality for shoppers.

Recently LISNR worked with John Frieda to create intelligent end-cap displays that used sound waves to simulate personal hair consultations and deliver coupons at-the-shelf. In this case, users downloaded the John Frieda app, set up their user profile, and enabled microphone access. As customers visited participating store locations, speakers enabled in the end-caps triggered the sound-enabled experience to shoppers. Those with the app enabled were asked a series of questions about their hair. Once the survey was complete, the simulated personal consultation concluded with specific John Frieda product recommendations and coupons delivered via the customer’s mobile device.

The Potential for Retailers

Using sound technology in-store also helps retailers and brands better understand what their customer’s journey looks like. How did shoppers walk the aisles, and where did they spend the most time in the store?

For example, just because a customer strolls by a display doesn’t mean they’re ready to make a purchase. LISNR can enable timing settings in a SmartTone, delivering targeted communications only after a customer spends a specific time in a designated area.

Captured data from these technified in-store experiences can be aggregated into a visual heat map. The data enables retailers and brands to make smarter display decisions — making it easier to connect with shoppers in-store, delivering exactly what they need and when they need it.

Discover other ways to connect with customers both in-store and online by following @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

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