Store signage is one of those things that’s easy for a business owner to overlook. But if you want to reach customers with the right message at the right time, signage plays a strategic role in the process.
Why Signage Matters
Retail storage signage seems like such a simple thing. However, it has a significant impact on your ability to reach, engage, and influence customers.
Retail signage can basically be grouped into two categories: exterior signage and interior signage. Exterior signage might be the more important of the two. It’s what identifies your store and gets people to come inside. The right exterior signage sets the tone and cultivates preeminence.
To get an idea of how important exterior signage is, think about the difference between a store that has a peeling sign with flickering neon lights and a store with an eye-catching three-dimensional, laser-cut sign that’s perfectly centered on the building’s exterior. One turns people away, while the other compels them to come inside.
Then there’s interior signage. The signs inside your store are all about moving customers closer to a purchase decision. You’re educating, informing, and persuading people to buy. An effective point-of-purchase sign can actually increase the likelihood that a customer puts an item in their cart and completes a transaction.
4 Tips for Better Signage
Whether it’s interior or exterior signage, success is in the details. Here are some tips you can use to execute with precision:
1. Stay Consistent
Every sign inside and outside of your store is going to be different. Yet they should all remain consistent. Don’t confuse these two ideas. Different yet consistent – that’s the goal.
Consistency is the art of identifying your brand’s “look” and then incorporating it into every aspect of your branding (signs included). Logo, colors, and branding must remain consistent, regardless of whether it’s an exterior sign or an interior sign. Always consider the larger context.
2. Keep it Simple
There’s a common misconception that good retail store signage has to be complex and unique. But in reality, the best signage is simple.
If you have too many elements on a sign, they can clash with one another and create visual friction. And whenever there’s visual friction, the customer is much less likely to take action and/or respond positively. Friction is especially damaging when there’s a call-to-action associated with the sign.
Simple designs tend to be more memorable. If you’re installing a sign outside of your store, it’s best to stick with your logo and (possibly) a slogan. For interior signage – like a POS display – limit the number of words you use. Fewer words mean greater clarity. It also increases legibility from longer distances.
The only time when you can get away with busier signs with more information is when a customer is likely to be stationary for an extended period of time. For example, signs in waiting rooms, restrooms, or checkout lines can have greater detail.
3. Use the Right Printing Partner
You can have the best sign idea in the world, but if it isn’t executed well, you’ll fail to generate the ROI needed to justify the investment. That’s why choosing the right printing partner is such an important step.
With so many different sign printing companies in the industry, you have to be intentional about weeding through the pretenders to find the companies that actually do good quality work. The best options are businesses that have experience, versatility, and scalability. Pro-Screen is a great example. Not only do they offer high-quality, cost-effective service, but they also have the ability to service most other printing needs (like direct mail, promotional items, etc.). This enables you to use them as a full-service print shop.
4. Prioritize Placement
Placement is extremely important with signage. This isn’t so much a design aspect as it is a strategic choice. Exterior signage is usually straightforward. There are a limited number of places to locate a sign outside of the store, so you work with what you’ve got. Interior signage is another story.
To ensure proper interior signage placement, you have to think about both visibility and relevance. Signs need to be visible to as many people as possible, but they should also be properly positioned (otherwise, customers may become confused).
Refine Your Signage
The thing about signage is it needs to be updated over time. If it’s been five or ten years since you last installed signage, it’s probably time for a refresh. Whether you totally switch up designs, or you simply order a new sign with crisper colors and better materials, don’t be afraid to update. A couple of small tweaks here and there can change the entire look of your store.