Voice Express was asked by its long time partner; Build-A-Bear Workshop®, to develop a digitally programmed Universal Sound (UM) module. In conjunction with the development of a Digital HearMe Sound Station, the UM brings numerous business benefits by reducing the number of SKUs to be maintained, reducing time to market for new sounds and improving personalization though the record-your-own sound capabilities. Ultimately the UM and Digital HearMe Sound Station were developed to increase the attachment rate of sounds to bears and increase the entertainment quotient of BABW’s newly imagined store of the future.

When developing the user interface, the challenge was to create an experience that would be both fun for kids and easy to understand for grandma. Voice Express, working with Nanonation and Build-a-Bear design teams, collaborated closely on developing the user interface.  In the process Voice Express also revolutionized the industry by offering the first commercially feasible wireless programming platform for audio chips.

Besides winning a number of awards (Digital Screen Media Association and Design Signage 2013 Apex Award of the Year), the results of Digital HearMe being deployed in several stores during 2011-2012 have been very successful. User testing and in-store observations have shown a very positive reaction by users of the kiosk. Guests are being attracted to the kiosk and are able to navigate, preview, select and purchase with little to no associate assistance.

The coordinated experience between on screen content, physical lights and sounds keeps the guest both engaged with the kiosk as well as provides important visual cues on what to do next. All age ranges are able to use the kiosk from a six year old adding a voice to their new friend to a sixty year old creating a “pawsonalized” messaged for their grandchild.

The result is sound sales in locations converted to the Digital HearMe sound solution have been consistently seeing double digit increases of sound sales over previous years.

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