The problem with noisy retail stores

Retail stores are busy places. Those that sell home furnishings, carpets or clothes are blessed with soft absorptive materials that dampen the sound and are reasonably pleasing to browse in. But supermarkets, home hardware outlets, music stores, computer shops and other such retailers that are encased in concrete and gypsum shells with glass walls and steel ceilings are noisy places that can be truly uncomfortable for the shopper. Sound energy ricochets off the hard, reflective surfaces creating a dense reverberant field. This makes shopping a very tiring endeavour. Important messages announcing specials or security issues are lost. Add music – that is often played too loudly – and communication between staff and customers becomes strained. For the shopper, the over-saturation of noise causes your hearing and mind to lose focus.  They become somewhat stressed and disinterested. Browsing becomes rushed and they leave without a purchase in hand. Large spaces are further plagued with echo and long reverberation times that render PA announcements useless. The result is a space that is not pleasing to be in – despite the fabulous bargains that may be at hand.

How can Primacoustic help you?

Depending on the size of the room, various strategies may be considered. Smaller retail shops can easily be treated using 1” (2.5 cm) thick Broadway™ or Paintable™ panels. Broadway panels are made from high-density glass wool, providing even absorption across the audio spectrum. Each panel is encased in micromesh with resin-hardened edges and then covered in acoustically transparent polyester tweed. Paintables, as the name implies, may be lightly painted with latex to match the room décor. These are mounted on the wall surfaces covering between 10% to 20% of available space and installation can be done by maintenance staff using Impalers™. Mounting the panels is as easy as putting up a picture. Placement is not critical. In larger retail spaces, Broadway panels are combined with Paintable Clouds™ that are suspended from the ceiling. These are doubly effective as sound energy from the room penetrates the front face and while reflections from the ceiling are absorbed by the back side. These are easily installed using eyehooks and Primacoustic SlipNot™ adjustable suspension wires. A variety of panel sizes, shapes and colors allow the designer to either camouflage the panel so that it is not seen or accentuate the look to create a bold or modern statement.

Executive Summary

  • Creates a calmer and more enjoyable shopping experience
  • Improves speech intelligibility and enhances communication
  • Clarifies important announcements over the PA system
  • Reduces ear fatigue and employee stress levels