Pickering, Ontario, Canada, December 18, 2020– Where should integrators in the retail and hospitality markets focus their efforts during 2021? What larger trends are in play and how have these become accelerated in 2020? What role does audio play in curating a customized experience for the consumer? Graeme Harrison, Vice President and General Manager of Bluesound Professional, offers perspective on 2020 and what he expects to see in 2021.
Accelerating existing trends
“This has been a difficult year for the industry, and the retail and hospitality markets have been especially hard hit. One thing that has become readily apparent is that nothing can replace the value of an in-person, visceral experience that engages all of our human senses. While certain consumer trends have accelerated — including online shopping and meal takeout/delivery — the main driver of these consumer behaviors has been convenience rather than experiential value. As people re-emerge back into retail venues such as restaurants and bars, the key to success will be whether or not these environments can deliver a curated experience that customers are prepared to leave their homes and travel to.”
‘Selling experiences’ – a theme in 2021 and beyond
“In the A/V integration industry, we have seen three major evolutions in how we deliver goods and services to customers. Before 2000, it was about moving boxes. Since then, the focus was on ‘solution selling’ — integrating a holistic set of products and services to solve a specific problem. More recently, and something that will continue into 2021 and beyond, is selling experiences. Selling experiences is in our industry’s DNA, and if you fuse congruent audio stimulus with video stimulus, it makes for a great experience. This can make an outing at a retail shop, café or restaurant all the more memorable. If integrators can fuse A/V solutions that help create customized, curated experiences, they can help their customers be more successful. As an example, our technology enables access to a huge variety of content: from specialist business music services, to customized playlist curation, to every radio station in the world. This is low hanging fruit and an easy way for businesses to create more valuable experiences without having to rip out and replace existing infrastructures.”
A stronger 2021
“The transition from solutions to experiences is one that must be made, and the gravity of this pandemic has given us all pause to stop and think about how we can go about achieving this. If integrators and the AV industry at large can come back more mindful and focused on this, we have an opportunity to create stronger and more sustainable business models. The key is that when people are willing to get out of their homes and go back into public spaces again, and it is safe to do so, these environments have to deliver a meaningful, multi-sensory experience. This will have the effect not only of boosting business, but building long-term trust so customers keep coming back in 2021 and beyond.”
About Bluesound Professional
Bluesound Professional is a fusion of hardware and software that is purpose-built for high performance networked audio for retail shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms, and other commercial applications. End users can connect and control nearly any audio source, including streaming services, internet radio, or networked hard drives, while installers can confidently specify rack-mounted hardware that integrates seamlessly with smart controllers. Powered by BluOS, an award-winning multi-zone audio management software platform, made native in a comprehensive range of controllers, streamers, amplifiers, and speakers, Bluesound Professional makes commercial audio installation projects easy to configure, deliver, and use. Bluesound Professional is a division of Lenbrook International, renowned manufacturers of premium audio technologies for residential and commercial applications.