Suomalainen Kirjakauppa Oy is to Finland what WHSmith is to the UK and Barnes & Noble is to the US. Founded in 1912, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa (meaning ‘Finnish bookshop’) is the biggest bookstore and stationery chain in Finland with 65 stores nationwide and an online store that sells an even wider variety of products. Over the last couple of years, the company has been redeveloping many of its stores in order to improve in-store customer experience, particularly where audio is concerned. Genelec 4000 Series installation speakers were selected to create mood and ambience and improve communication thanks to their capacity to deliver quality sound at low levels – combined with strong build quality.

Suomalainen Kirjakauppa business location manager, Ari Hokkanen explains why the choice of loudspeakers was such an important part of the redevelopment. “The challenge in a retail environment like ours is to deliver clear, intelligible audio but at relatively low levels. The idea is to create a mood that will encourage customers to browse without actually interrupting them in their activities.

“Bookstores are traditionally quiet, reflective environments; however, in the context of a more modern approach, we wanted to be able to maintain the tranquillity, but with a rather lighter atmosphere. We also wanted to be able to broadcast sales and promotional messages that are perfectly intelligible at low levels so that customers absorb the message without it feeling like an intrusion. Genelec was able to provide a solution that met all of our requirements.”

Reading room

The solution in question is the 4000 Series installation loudspeakers from Genelec, in particular the 4030C models which are specially designed for small to medium commercial installations. Like all 4000 Series models, the 4030Cs integrate amplifier modules for each driver, active crossover filters and protection circuitry. Room response controls on the rear of each loudspeaker enable room optimisation, and there is also a level control for individual level adjustment.  As a result, there is no need for external amplifier or processing racks, which makes for a simpler and cheaper installation. Finally, a range of mounting accessories ensures that the loudspeakers can be mounted wherever necessary to achieve the best results.

After a successful pilot project in the flagship Helsinki store, the company decided to roll out the concept nationwide. Currently there are around 200 4030Cs installed across nearly twenty stores nationwide with more planned for the near future.

Ari says that Genelec was an easy choice for the company. “Genelec’s core values of customer-focused service combined with high quality products suit our own values perfectly,” he says. “It’s easy to work with a company when your common goals are the same. We also liked that they are a well-established company with a strong history and an undisputed reputation for high quality products and great customer service. All the work we have completed with Genelec to date has borne that out. What’s more, we know that by investing in Genelec, we’re investing in a long-term, trouble-free solution thanks to the superior build quality of their loudspeakers.”

“In terms of the solution they have provided, I’m more than satisfied,” Ari continues. “I love the individual control we have over each loudspeaker to ensure that the audio is fully optimised across the store and can be adjusted to suit the specific location of the loudspeaker. Even when the speakers have had to be placed in acoustically challenging areas of the store, they still sound good. As a result, we now have cleaner, clearer and more distinctive sound everywhere which has definitely improved the customer experience. Our promotional messages are also a lot clearer now without being strident.”

Ari was also pleased with the service he received from Genelec. “Markku Syrjäpalo, Genelec’s domestic sales manager, has been a huge help right from the beginning and continues to be even now. He made sure that our first installation was carried out by an experienced installer from Genelec, who then trained the installation company we now use, which is great.

“The results have been excellent. We know that good quality sound vastly increases comfort within the store, and often makes the difference between people choosing to stay a bit longer or cut their visit short. Genelec has helped us to achieve our sound goals and has significantly enhanced the customer experience within our stores.”

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