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The rise of e-commerce sounds. Stephan V. Nölke on UX sound design

Aktualisiert: 6. Apr. 2022

Virtual showrooms, click and collect or online shopping - the e-commerce market is booming. The Cologne Institute for Consumer Research (IFH) predicts that the online share of the retail sector will grow to around 21 percent by 2025. This means that one in five retail euros will be spent online. In a recent survey by sendcloud, European consumers already say they store online almost twice a month.

With this growth, not only has the need for an e-commerce offering for companies grown, but also the requirements for the individual design of such an offering. What can make a big difference here and currently differentiate companies strongly from others is audible digitalization.

3 questions

1. What does a store sound like in the digital space?

2. What sounds do users hear when they move around?

3. And how deeply should they be immersed in the virtual sales world through sounds?

Those who pursue these questions not only create a unique user connection, but also move with the times - as you can also read in this article on sound branding in the metaverse. Yet few people are using sound as a selling point in the digital space - we show why that should change.

The rise of e-commerce sounds. Stephan Vincenct Nölke, CEO, comevis GmbH & Co KG, Cologne

The rise of e-commerce sounds

E-commerce is one of the biggest growth markets of recent years - not least due to the pandemic, of course. More and more companies either have their own online store, at least appear on external marketplaces such as Ebay, Amazon or Etsy, or opt for a combination of both. We know from physical retail that sound and sounds are of enormous importance here. It was noticed many years ago that music in department stores, for example, could make people stay longer. That certain BPM numbers (beats per minute) or chords influence mood.

This insight can now also be transferred to e-commerce - but must be thought about more broadly here. We're no longer just talking about department store music, we're talking about 360-degree sound design, digital ambient sounds and UX functional sounds, and much more.

Why does sound design make e-commerce more successful?

A good e-commerce concept is characterized by the fact that all channels are optimally coordinated - whether online or offline. For example, if you have a fashion store, you should be able to create the same atmosphere in both the physical store and the online store - and what better way to do that than with sounds? This creates a unique recognition value as well as personality, and customers can be optimally tied to a company. If the right sounds are used, which ideally convey the right feelings such as well-being or good mood, the time spent in the digital space can even be extended.

The experience then resembles browsing and strolling through a store in the real world.

In addition to such rather fundamental reasons, an agile sound architecture can also make for a more experimentally structured e-commerce and thus set a company apart from others. What is becoming increasingly present in e-commerce, for example, is the topic of virtual reality (VR). Virtual showrooms with the option to buy directly or make a purchase later in the physical store are becoming increasingly popular. The boundaries between online and offline are blurring here, which is also dubbed a "phygital" shopping experience - a mix of physical and digital. Likewise, applications such as augmented reality (AR) and VR can create the opportunity to test products online.

This provides immense added value for customers, which can be significantly enhanced by realistic sound effects, product sounds or recognizable acoustic brand values.

IKEA: E-commerce and Virtual Reality - a Case Study

A good example of a virtual reality experience is IKEA. The Swedish furniture store has created a 3D showroom in which customers can initially put together their home furnishings virtually. Colors, upholstery or the time of day can be customized, for example to see how the new light sofa looks during the day, at dusk or during a series evening.

In addition to photorealistic renderings, 3D surround sound in high definition audio completes the virtual experience.

A perfect example of the combination of e-commerce, sound branding and voice branding. In addition to sound, IKEA also focused on voice and integrated the well-known IKEA voice Jonas Bergström into the virtual experience.


comevis. Audible brand digitalization

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with intelligent audio/voice control and self-service content generation.

For almost 20 years now, we have been known for audio/voice innovations.

This involves audible brand digitalization, code-based sound branding, acoustic service design & A.I. applications from our award-winning C-Cloud.


From e-commerce to voice commerce

Anyone who thinks about sound design and UX design in e-commerce will quickly end up with the topic of voice commerce. For a long time now, products can be purchased and ordered not only at the checkout or by clicking - shopping is now also possible by voice command via various voice assistants. So the design of voice assistants with a personalized voice system is also part of e-commerce.

The importance of focusing on this is shown by a study by Wunderman Thompson, which estimates that voice commerce alone will generate 40 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2022.

The biggest challenge here is that companies have to convince with pure audio.

Haptics, visual impressions, everything that reinforces acoustic impressions in a store or on a website is omitted here. Voice commerce is therefore the most acoustic version of e-commerce and thus a point to strongly focus on in this development. We can help you create your brand voice with our unique expertise and the largest pool of voice actors in the world.

With our comprehensive portfolio for brand, innovation and service managers, we make companies audibly more successful.

From newsletters to video ads

Where e-commerce plays a role, social media, newsletters and ads are not far away. Even though this is a topic of its own, it belongs to e-commerce like a guitar pick - you can do without it, but you're louder with it.

Those who have already considered the topic of code-based sound branding here when setting up an e-commerce offer can now stringently carry this forward into the design of moving image postings and the like. In doing so, you should pay attention to the holistic audio/voice branding and stay within your own sound architecture. Our Brand Sound Library can help you here, both by making the sound applications possible without much help and by ensuring that brand-compliant sounds are always used.

Stephan Vincent Nölke


"Audible brand digitalization with comevis. We develop brands, products & services in the digital space - with reverberation."

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