Amplifon is an Italian multinational company and the world leader in the distribution of hearing systems (hearing aids) and their fitting and personalization to the needs of clients with hearing impairment. Amplifon engaged Continuum to identify a new retail model and to redesign and relaunch its proprietary hearing assessment tool, Amplifit, in conjunction with this new retail experience.
The project resulted in not simply a new store layout, but a strategic and complex symbiosis of touch-points.
Amplifon knew that it was losing market share because its aging stores and stale brand were turning off younger potential customers. Continuum and Amplifon collaborated to reinvigorate its retail design as well as create a tool to personalize the hearing solution to the person’s lifestyle through real-life multimedia content, a digital service offering called Amplifit. Continuum wanted to allow the customer to “experience” the loss both acoustically and psychologically in the Amplifon stores.
At the same time, it was important to remove the negative halo around the tool itself amongst acousticians and create fresh positive perceptions. To do so, it was important to address the current lack of uniformity in terms of service and customer experience.
Continuum began by conducting a European and global ethnographic-based research program to understand and analyze activities, needs, aspirations of different users. We interviewed both Amplifon customers and acousticians that helped the design team identify clear opportunities that would be relevant to both the customer and the acoustician.
The customer wanted more emotion/empathy in fitting/assessment process. Both the acoustician and the customer needed scientific credibility and trust of the multimedia content. The system is complex but needed to “hide” the complexity beneath layers of simplicity and overall the process needed to be time-efficient.
We mapped the design and strategic opportunities for an “innovation roadmap” (short, medium and long-term implementation), and identified clear insights that set the new tool values relevant to the customer and the acoustician.
Then we translated/embodied the research insights and values into opportunities for innovation, and created design directions for the “system” consisting of a software, hardware and a physical retail space.
- Software: A new intuitive architecture for scientific based multimedia content, new recording protocol for scientific-based multimedia content, new simplified features, and scalable performance for easy upgrades.
- Hardware: A calibration system to guarantee repeatable audio performance and defined speakers set to guarantee more realistic audio performance.
- Retail, incorporating Hardware: Pre-defined customer position to strengthen test validity, and acoustically controlled environment for free field test.
The project resulted in not simply a new store layout, but a strategic and complex symbiosis of touch-points including lighting, acoustics, colors, furniture, product systems, people, assessment tools and service offering. The new Amplifon Retail Experience transfers elements of modernity, innovation, emotional closeness to the brand and Amplifon becomes active – via the shop – in the relationship with the customer.
Initial financial results per shop where the New Store Experience and Amplifit were implemented include improvement in sales around plus 20% percent increase versus budget. The new Amplifon Consumer Store Experience represents a consumer centered “new dimension of sound” which coherently embodies Amplifon’s new brand positioning well expressed by the claim: Bringing Sound to Life.