April 10, 2018 • digitalmedia • Marketing Supply Chain • Comments Off on Tips for Compelling In-Store Signage
Your in-store signage plays a vibrant role in the daily life of your business. It welcomes customers, orients them to your store, draws people in, directs them to departments and products, and guides them to promotions. Because it has so many functions basic to your everyday success, your signage gets a lot of practical marketing mileage. It is something like a branded map. But hand-in-hand with its functionality, signage also needs to be compelling. It can and should advertise for your business. Here are eight tips to creating signage that does just that.
Think from the perspective of a customer who has never been to your store before. Are entrances, exits, elevators, and restrooms clearly marked? Can a new customer — including one who requires handicap access — find his or her way around the store with ease? Stores with different sales aisles or departments also need signage that marks off discrete portions of the store so that customers can easily locate who and what they need. In short: don’t assume customers know anything about you when they walk in, and don’t scrimp on in-store signage.
Defamiliarize yourself with your own space. Ask friends or family members with fresh eyes to give you feedback on what they see — or don’t see — in your signage. Clear, easy-to-read signs that lead customers exactly where they say they will make a difference between a positive and a frustrating shopping experience. Letters need to be large enough to read: one inch of height for every ten feet of distance from the viewer (ex. a minimum two-inch high text for a sign that will be read twenty feet away). Some of your in-store signage might need arrows, brief directions, office number listings, or viewer-friendly “You are here” maps. Leaving customers guessing and wandering is not good PR. But good signs anticipate basic customer needs and build brand credibility.
Credibility also hinges on signs that are clean, accurate, and in good repair. Be ruthless about spelling. Never manually cross out a word to correct a sign. Damage from time, accidents, or vandalism should be immediately addressed. If prospects are greeted by signage that is unattractive or dilapidated, they may lose confidence and wonder whether you’re able to follow through on promised service. Signs can make a difference between a customer staying or walking away, because sloppy signage is unprofessional.
Keep updated signage for seasonal and current promotions so that customers can easily find deals and become familiar with the perks your brand provides. From holiday deals to free delivery, use signs to highlight all the benefits of choosing your business over another. Customer-oriented signage is about hospitality, but it also contributes to making the goals and personality of your company clear. Over time, customers can begin to associate certain signage with certain promotions they love, creating a sense of anticipation. This is just one example of how the one-time purchase of a sign, when managed well, can have a lasting, repeated, and positive impact on customer experience and sales.
Like a museum curator, use signage to curate a customer’s experience. As a seamless extension of your branding strategy, your signage builds an impression of your credibility, hospitality, and personality as a company. This is where you get creative with design and arrangement. But curation also has a practical aspect. You have to make sure your signage is not obscured or blocked, or that surroundings take away from the impact. How do signs work in relation to light glare, frames, architecture, shelving, other signage? Signs contribute greatly to customers’ perceptions of the value of your products or services. So make sure they get a chance to shine.
Check out trends in other, competing stores by making a visit and taking good note of what you find. You can keep track of what you don’t like or what doesn’t work, but also take careful note of what does, and of aspects you might want to borrow and adapt to your won context. Don’t plagiarize someone else’s sign — simply look for design and arrangement principles you like and work from there.
Two-dimensional printed signage does not have to feel flat. But you still need to be intentional about making it dynamic. Explore all the dimensions of design and display. Always use color to your full advantage, no matter whether your signage is two- or three-dimensional. Adding the third dimension, or at least a variety of shapes, is well worth exploring, too. Digital signage may also be worth exploring — just make sure you investigate its potential benefits for your context carefully. Digital signage, while a great investment for some purposes, may be a waste of money for others. If you haven’t yet found a professional marketing partner to assist you with your signage options and ensure your best investments, this is a great point at which to do so.
Your signage is all about welcome, orientation, and offerings — it should only rarely be about prohibition. “Please do not…” and “We prosecute shoplifters” signs, if overdone, can nag customers and drag down your store atmosphere. These signs are at times necessary, but should be kept to the bare minimum. You might even decide to brand cautionary or prohibitive signage in order to adjust the tone to fit your business, so that it blends in better. But in any case, keep it light (if possible), to the point, and relatively small in comparison with other signage.
For in-store signage that fits all of your business’s specifications, invest in a team of experts. Fontis Solutions will help you design and implement signage according to a customized strategy, integrating it perfectly with your other marketing efforts. Signage is a one-time investment with lasting results. Give us a call, and we’ll be committed to seeing you through to success.
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