5 Types of Signage No Retailer Can Afford to Ignore
This is a guest post by Katelyn Gray from SmartSign.
If you want to operate a successful physical retail business that attracts customers and drives sales, then you need to get noticed – and smart retailers know that starts with signage.
Quality signage is an easy and effective way to drive foot traffic and communicate with your customers when designing your store. However, if done incorrectly it can cause overstimulation and even confusion. Signage in your brick-and-mortar business is just as important as your website design, and retail signage shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Why do signs play such an important role in physical retail? Just as your site’s sales copy should be attention-grabbing and concise, your in-store signs should be clear and useful. Consider signs your silent but highest-selling salespeople. Signage helps your customers navigate your shop without asking sales staff basic questions.
Much like you set standards for an employee’s appearance and expectations for their conduct, the color, visibility, messaging, and quality of signs also require a certain amount of development and consideration. Also like employees, signs can be given on-the-job tasks, ranging from sales information and wayfinding to general product information and usage. With that in mind, here are some general best practices you’ll want to keep in mind when thinking about store layout and signage, followed by five types of signs you won’t be able to do without.
Retail Signage Best Practices
No matter what kinds of signs you decide to include in your brick-and-mortar store, consider these best practices:
- Be specific: A customized sign can give you just the right message in just the right place, known as narrowcasting. When designing a sign, include specific details, such as location-specific instructions and relevant product information.
- Keep it simple: Your sign’s message needs to be clear, yet one with too much information is often ignored. Use the five-second rule which states that if you can convey the main themes of the sign in less than five seconds, you pass. If it takes longer, shorten your message or use a series of signs.
- Write in headline text: This should help you be concise and simple all at once. Understand the first principle of print journalism: the punch line matters. Can you simplify your text? Can you take out prepositions and extra words? Effective custom signs use a message hierarchy: headline, explanatory text, and finally, a call to action.
- Make a call to action: Signs are advertisements, and as any good advertiser knows, you need to get the customer to do something; that’s the call to action. An effective sign needs to have a simple goal.
This brings us to the five most crucial types of retail signage you should consider when opening your brick-and-mortar store:
Outdoor signage is arguably the most important kind in physical retail because it’s what gets customers in the door, the largest hurdle to beginning a relationship. Exterior signage is the first impression customers have of your business.
These signs need to do more than simply announce who you are, they need to draw in customers and make them want something from you. Effective signage may encourage people who have passed your store many times before to finally give it a chance.
Outdoor signage can take the form of sidewalk signs, entrance signs, awnings, or window signs. Place signage where it is visible to as much walk-by and drive-by traffic as possible. Outdoor signage in particular should be branded effectively to draw the customer in and help to convey the experience that they can expect inside the establishment.