Retail store signage broadly comes in two types that serve two different purposes: exterior signage draws the customers in, and interior signage moves customers around the store to find what they came in for. In an ideal world, they both also provide information that encourages people to purchase.
Signage requirements and styles are different for each retail business, so custom retail store signs are very common. However, there are a few fundamental rules of effective retail signage that are common to just about all of them.
Follow Your Brand: First and foremost, your signage is part of your brand. Whatever its purpose, indoor or outdoor, signage not only needs to convey information in a clear, concise and persuasive way, it needs to be consistent with your brand – the distinctive image and reputation you want people to associate with your business as soon as they see and recognize its branding.
The colors, fonts, graphics, layouts, and words used in your signage should consistently follow the basic brand guidelines you have developed, usually starting with your logo or trademark.
Keep it Simple: Your aim is to clarify, not confuse, so signs loaded with too much information are easily ignored. Just as text on a page needs to be broken up into paragraphs to make it more understandable, text on a sign needs to be given space to breathe and convey its message.
If a retail store’s sale sign is so busy it cannot be read and understood in less than two or three seconds, then make it shorter, or use multiple signs in a series. (Think of a series of related billboard signs spaced along a highway – you have an important message but only the briefest time for potential customers to read it.
So spread the message across multiple signs in series, each containing an easily digestible nugget of information and reinforcing the previous message.)
Issue a Call to Action: Effective signs have a single goal – to compel the customer to a course of action. It could be the opportunity to buy a product or service at a bargain price, it could be a wayfinding sign directing customers to goods or services elsewhere in the store.
Either way, the message needs to be simple, straightforward, easily understood, and offer a clear call to action.
OUTDOOR SIGNS: Get The Customer in the Door
Outdoor retail store signs get customers in the door. It’s the hardest part of attracting passing trade, so deserves a lot of careful thought. Outdoor signs are more than a brand announcement, they need to not only declare your presence they need the power to create or satisfy demand in a potential customer.
We’ve all seen those garish retail store clearance signs covering shop windows or on banners draped across the frontage in lurid neon colors with huge capital letters screaming “FINAL CLEARANCE!” or “CLOSING DOWN SALE!”.
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These are especially popular in footfall areas where there are a lot of tourists and new visitors. Locals soon cotton on that many of these stores seem to have them displayed permanently.
However, these signs are effective because they not only offer the promise of fantastic bargains but imply they are very time-limited, adding an element of jeopardy and urgency to the potential purchase.
They can create demand just by suggesting that a customer might miss out forever on a purchase of something they didn’t even know they wanted.
While this ‘buy now before it’s too late’ approach is certainly not for all retail businesses, it’s an obvious example of the fundamentals that still apply across the retail sector: your outdoor signs should create or promise to satisfy consumer demand to attract potential customers.
Whether it’s a sandwich board on the sidewalk advertising today’s Daily Specials or a massive ‘Summer Fashion Sale – Final Week!’ sign taking up an entire display window, if it’s not drawing the customers in then it’s not doing its job.
But once you’ve got a customer’s attention how do you convert initial interest into a sale? This is where your in-store signs can help.
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INDOOR SIGNS: Separate the Informational from the Promotional
Congratulations! You’ve overcome the first and most fundamental hurdle – you’ve got the customer in the door with your compelling outdoor signage. Now you have to make a sale.
Once you’ve persuaded a potential customer to enter, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to find the product or service you want them to buy.
You want to give them the information needed to choose that product (or brand of product) and leave your store with a positive impression that encourages them to come back as a regular customer.
The trick with indoors signage is to always have it easily in line of sight, but also not to make it so cluttered that competing messages drown each other out. Separate your informational signage from your promotional signage by deliberately making it different in look and style yet still sitting happily within your basic brand guidelines for consistency. Humans are hard-wired to see patterns in everything.
If all your information and directional signage are the same color and font and style, the human brain can very easily categorize and separate it without conscious thought and without being distracted from messages and signs intended to serve a more commercial purpose that is easily identified as part of your brand imaging.
Like storefront, awning, fascia, and window signage, indoor signs can convey different messages, at different heights, in different sizes, and designed to be seen close-up or from a distance.
Everything from temporary tent cards advertising special discount prices next to a display of goods, to hanging signs for retail stores announcing a new product series, or wayfaring signs to locate different departments, effective signs in a retail establishment do far more than just show prices and where the toilets are located.
At Sign Solutions, we offer a full range of retail signage solutions drawing on years of creative skills and entrepreneurial know-how to help you promote your retail business and services in the Cayman Islands.
Get in touch today to discuss your requirements and see how our experts can help with every step of the way, from concept to installation. Tel: 943-SIGNs (7446) or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org