Make no mistake, having a great custom playlist with fully-licensed music tailored to the appropriate programming block is important, but there's a way to take your in-store audio to the next level. Embedded messaging allows your sales associates to focus on providing the best customer service possible, including fielding questions posed by customers rather than repeating a tired, boring spiel about your newest product or service.
What is Embedded Messaging?
Embedded messaging refers to any speech added to your normal in-store playlist. An advertisement for your latest promotion or a simple courtesy message informing customers to ask your employees if they have questions or need assistance are just two examples of how stores use embedded messaging to enhance customer experiences.
You can use your own voice, that of an employee, a voice actor or a computerized voice to read the text intended for your embedded message. With a fully customized playlist (like that offered by Retail Radio's proprietary GRRID software), you can even add multiple, unrelated messages to your playlist to target just the right audience. For example, if you run a restaurant you could run an embedded message about the breakfast specials during the morning hours, another encouraging customers to remain patient during the lunch rush at midday and a reminder to ask for a desert or drink menu during your evening programming block.
What are the Benefits of Embedded Messaging?
Embedded messaging in audio programming means increased efficiency. The more information you're able to give your shoppers so that they can make their own decisions and choices – the more streamlined their experience. Stopping to ask an employee a question while shopping can be burdensome at best and full-on anxiety-provoking at worst. The more information you're able to give your customers, the easier they'll be able to discern things on their own.
There are many ways to convey information to your customers – clear and concise signage, labels and displays are all visual. These are great for small or specific details, whereas embedded messaging would be best for messages that apply to most, or all, customers. For example, during your one-day sale everything in your store is 35 percent off. While you could easily put that on a sign at the store entrance, there's still a chance that some of your customers will miss it. But when a voice breaks through the music on your speakers to let your customers know that the items they have in their hand are discounted, they're more likely to stop and take notice.
Embedded messaging doesn't just streamline the customer's experience; it also frees up your personnel. Take that same 35 percent off promotion as an example. Instead of having your circulating customer service associates randomly mentioning it to shoppers or your greeter saying it to everyone who enters your store, their time could be spent giving a friendly hello and fielding queries about specific problems the customer is having rather than touting your promotion.
With that comes an increased perception of friendliness – when employees have to mention the same thing to every customer, it can seem forced, tired or even like they're reading from a script. Keep your employee morale high by letting your embedded messaging give out the rote information and letting your personnel freely interact with your clients.
How to Use Embedded Messaging
The first step to effectively using embedded messaging is to craft a message. Writing down the message you wish to convey allows you to edit it for maximum clarity and conciseness. Read it out loud several times to make sure there are no errors and that the words flow smoothly. If you're unsure, hire a professional to craft a script for you.
Next, pick the voice for your message. You may have someone in mind who’s willing to read your embedded message. You may have to audition and hire a voice actor or a professional to read it. If you're really keen on keeping an even tone that won't detract customers' attention from their shopping, you may opt for a computer generated voice (they’re getting a lot more human-like than they used to be).
Have your “actor” read the script and familiarize themselves and then record it. You could spring for time at a professional studio (such as your local radio station or university recording studio), but some mobile phones and computer plug-in microphones are good enough to capture near-professional sounding audio without a lot of extra investment.
Once recorded, pop the message in the appropriate spot on your playlist. Every system is different, so don't hesitate to reach out to the company that helps manage your in-store music. For example, some systems require you to have the raw audio data in a specific format, but Retail Radio's GRRID system can work with multiple formats and can even pull audio from your already established advertisements.
Is Embedded Messaging Worth It?
At first glance, you might question whether embedded audio messaging is worth the hassle. While this isn't the right medium for every message, it's the most effective way to convey information that applies to all or most of your customers in a way that really grabs their attention. Signs can be missed and displays ignored, but it's almost impossible to tune out a voice telling you what's going on in the store. Work with your in-store music provider to help craft a custom embedded message for maximum efficacy.