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5 Tips for Effective Retail Signage

Posted by Frank Murch | Mar 9, 2017 10:00:00 AM

5 Tips for Effective Retail Signage

 Signs are an essential tool for Retail Businesses. Designing, making and using great signage in a deliberate strategy. Huge opportunities to increase sales from existing customers and attracting new customers exist with the effective use of signs. Most retailers miss this opportunity. You need to make the most of the brief glance customers and prospects give you. The decisions about entering the store, and buying from you are made in the first 3 to 4 seconds. Signs identify you and communicate your product offering in a glance. Doing this well shapes the entire customer experience resulting. Signs can draw people in, guide them to the product they want, and have them walk up to checkout with cash in hand. Or poor signs can fail to attract, frustrate and have them give up. All decided by your choice of signs in a few seconds. Is signage an afterthought in your business? Can you really have a better business with better signs? Yes, and where is how:Dimensional Wallgreens.jpeg

Tip 1: Think like a Customer

It may be impossible for experienced staff to relive their “first impressions” They simply know too much, too deeply and have too much familiarity with the business. Still experiencing what you are doing from the eyes of a customer is critical. Ask for help from friends and family. When you drive up and enter what do you really see? Can you immediately see the all the key products? Is the signage clear, simple and obvious? Signage should lower the resistance, and make the entrance, navigation, product selection and check out as easy as possible. Develop signs that prioritize clear and direct information and navigation. Signs reduce the effort for the customer, they guide and ease the experience. Making it easy for the customer to find you, find the product and buy it is the only reason most signs exist. Avoid getting too cute, communicating too much or not at all. It is 100% about the customer communication.

Tip 2: Think About Location, Location, LocationPetCuts 2.jpg

Most retailers miss the rules of good placement. They are too busy and too familiar to see the customer’s needs. The results are misplacements, poor placements or no placements. The service staff works harder to answer question, the customer is frustrated by the delay and resistance. Location is everything. Exterior signage (Channel Letters and Monument Sign) should be as bold as possible, lite and in good shape. You need it “seen” as many passersby as possible. Using windows effectively is often missed. These are at eye level and should compel customers through the door by affirming, your open, you have what they need and you are “the obvious” place for it. Don’t be coy, tell them boldly, simply and immediately by using your glass surfaces effectively. Interior signage is about tell the customer where to find what they need. Finding products fast and effectively increases customer satisfaction and sales, don’t frustrate this effort – make it as easy as possible. How? Mark the restrooms, cashier and service desks first. Tell them how to get in and get out, then mark the product types and locations. Helping customers quickly and effectively find what they are looking is encouraging sales, increases the average sale and attracts new customers.

Tip 3: Visit Competitors

Customers are actively comparing you to the competition. You should be walking into the competitor’s stores and looking at what they are doing. Every retail location will have a few things they do better and a few they don’t. If you can transplant your competitor’s strong points while removing a couple of your weaker point – sales will increase. It increases your competitive position. Signage is a great place to start because after the initial purchase it is free, it requires can actually reduce work and it just requires a critical eye and a fresh look. Most of the other improvements will take more effort.SupergreenwindowA.jpg

Tip 4: Get the Look Right

After the type of signs and the placement is decided, you need to look at presenting the information boldly and consistently. Good signage is about uniformity. The customer’s mind will instantly see the shape, color, font, and placement, use the signs to scan for what they are searching for. Don’t confuse them through a lack of uniformity. Branding is huge here. Using a the same font, uniform sizes, uniform colors helps the customer identify the signs and use them better. You are looking for a simple, bold, professional design. The Colors need to be contrasting to enhance readability. The background consistent and the text all the same size where possible.

Tip 5: Keep It Simple

Use as few words as possible. Use words that are simple and easy to understand. This is where elegant signs are created. There is a lot of thought behind “simple”, direct and readable at a glance. Common mistakes include trade terms and vocabulary, packing too much into a small space, using a lot of images, long descriptions and repeating what is already clear in the product packaging. You know where everything is, you probably put it there, the customer is relying on the signage and a visual search for the product. Sign are there for navigation, or information.

Types of Signage

These signs are the basics can not live without. Each sign works like a relay race, handing the customer off to the next sign and flowing through to check out.

  • The monument sign. It is the first sign they see. If possible – use this space, and make sure your signs are crisp, bond and in good shape.
  • The store front “Neon Sign”. Think of this as a navigational beacon – it is. It should be bold, simple, clear and readable from a distance. Turn it on early and keep it in good shape.
  • The sign front door (windows) signs. This is your introduction, your branding and your finial chance to pull the customer through the front. It is informational and directional
  • Inside navigational signs: tell them where the restrooms, checkout, service desk, are and then tell them where each product categories are. Let them see the search and purchase happening in their minds and then let them do it.
  • Shelve signs, these are to convey the price, and any sales, special or product information


Signs are business tools. Doing the signs well increases business. Simple, bold and elegant signage is a deliberate act. It should be designed, created and placed with the customer experience in mind, when it is dales increase. The reasons are a directional and informational efficiency. Customers find you, their products and the way to purchase them easier. This results in cleaner, faster sales at higher average prices. Still most retailers will miss entirely or partly because they do not think it through, use a customers perspective or simply don’t know what to do. Can you really increase your business with a one time prophase of better signs? You bet and it is smart to do it

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Topics: dimensional letters, Cut Vinyl Lettering, neon signs, instore signage


Whether you need a channel letter set, a monument signs, ADA signs, wayfinding signs, lobby signs, or any other type of commercial building signage, we can help! Signs for San Diego is the best sign company for building signs.


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