Freezers that talk and supermarket windows that play music to entice customers instore could soon become reality, thanks to new technology being tested in retail.

Whispering Windows uses a patented Feonic technology to turn any hard, smooth surface into speakers. A tiny soundbug is fixed onto the surface, causing sound to spread evenly across it. Software monitors the ambient noise, be it in store or at street level, and ensures the volume from the surface stays constantly at levels just a few decibels above it.

According to Newlands Scientific, this ensures retailers are not vulnerable to accusations of noise pollution.

“It is not shoving sales down consumers’ throats but acts as a more subtle prompt,” said chairman Brenda Hopkins.

The system enables promotional messages in areas in which it is difficult to create impact through traditional POP methods, such as freezers. It also offers a new way of giving information on products that are difficult to communicate, such as financial services.

Department store John Lewis has tested the system in its windows at Peter Jones in London and is now installing it in four other branches. Research carried out by instore specialist RMS showed a 58% increase in passers-by who glanced at the Peter Jones TV and audio window display when the system was turned on, and a 49% rise in those who stopped and looked.

Women were more susceptible, with a 62% increase in those who interacted, while 31-45-year-olds saw a 76% rise. According to Peter Jones, there was a 40% sales uplift in the audio and TV department during the period.