Retailers, let's face the challenges
of innovation together

Was your last intimate candlelit dinner spoilt by noise? Choose your restaurant according to the noise level!

Elisabeth MENANT
Innovation Trends Manager
3 minutes


We have all had a restaurant experience that goes catastrophically wrong due to the high noise level and conversations that are impossible to follow.


You are looking for a restaurant where the noise level is low enough to let you follow the conversation with your friend or your boss over a working lunch? Now you can!

In San Francisco, Sydney or Toronto, choose the ideal restaurant by downloading the iHEARu app. By reading the comments made by other users you can choose the best restaurant for a quiet conversation. The app draws on its community to offer this service. It lets anyone use the telephone’s microphone to measure the decibels in the room. The data thus collected over time is used to create a veritable dashboard of the noise quality of an establishment. It is worth noting that the team that created this app worked in tandem with NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) to determine precisely the measuring scale. An indicator to place henceforth in the windows of restaurants, after the fashion of the Guide du routard or Tripadvisor?


At a time when the watchwords of technological innovation are the use of voice, as embodied by Amazon Echo and Alexa and the limitless use of the capacities of artificial intelligence to help us in our daily life, what areas of innovation are left for brands and retailers to improve their services? Let’s look at the details of our everyday life. In this instance it is the noise environment in restaurants that is the point of entry for consumers’ choices. Their priority in this instance is peace and quiet.

Other such initiatives have already seen the light, as in Australia with the Coles supermarket chain. It has introduced a “Quiet Hour” in its 68 stores every Tuesday between 10.30 and 11.30: no background music, muted checkouts and the handling work of staff, lower light levels… This approach is primarily aimed at their customers suffering from autism to offer them a calm environment more conducive to purchasing.

Coles rolls out autism-friendly

And yet these two initiatives perfectly illustrate the need for brands and retailers to exploit new engagement criteria with their consumers, in this instance by looking after their “sensory” health. The voice, sounds, touch, taste, sense of smell… the five human senses will more than ever structure the customer relationship of tomorrow. And they need to be “worked on” using the principle of simplicity in order to avoid sensory overload. And what if consumers entered a store tomorrow by taking account of the sensory programme on offer, in order to relax?

Elisabeth MENANT
Innovation Trends Manager
To explore with you the transformation of retail with a double approach both editorial and business
Back to the top

Recommended posts