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 over-stimulation 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.

Types of Retail Signage to Consider When Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Store:

  1. Outdoor Signage

Outdoor signage is possibly the most important kind in physical retail because it’s what gets customers in the door. Exterior signage is the first impression customers have of your business.

These signs need to do more than simply announce who you are.  They should draw in customers and make them want something from you. Effective signage may encourage people who have passed by other stores to give yours 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. This signage must be branded effectively to draw the customer in and help to convey the experience that they can expect inside the establishment.

  1. Informational Signage 

Informational signage is also known as departmental, directional, organizational, or wayfinding signage. These signs help the customer navigate your space more easily. The easier it is for a customer to find what they came in for, the more likely they are to rely on that convenience in the future.

Directional signage tells customers where to go. All types of informational signage need to be concise and easy to read so that clients can understand the message with just a split-second glance. Large, bold fonts in highly-visible color schemes best accomplish this goal.

Once you start putting up informational signage, it becomes clear to you if your store is arranged in an orderly, strategic fashion.

  1. Persuasive Signage

Persuasive signage influences consumer behavior through convincing language or attractive imagery. These signs can advertise a particular product or promotion. Persuasive signs or displays can influence customer flow and improve interactivity with otherwise unnoticed products. Signs that showcase a particular type of product offer an opportunity for retailers to communicate specific details of new, seasonal, or featured items.

Using persuasive signage allows products or brands to more effectively communicate with customers. These displays can turn an otherwise ordinary product into a popular “hidden gem.” Effective persuasive messaging can also create a higher perceived value for products, increase brand awareness and improve retail sales.

  1. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliant Signage 

Making customers feel welcome means all customers. Offering accessibility by way of parking, entrances/exits, restrooms, cashier stations, fitting rooms, and elevators will make disabled patrons’ experience more comfortable and enjoyable. If your location offers accessible features but doesn’t make them known, you’re doing your customers a serious disservice.

If your store’s accessible entrance is not the same as the main entry way, a sign at the main entrance must indicate where to find the accessible entrance.

Any permanent interior signs indicating bathrooms, elevators, entrances and exits also must include Braille and tactile characters in legible fonts and contrasting colors, and they must be mounted at specific heights for consistency and access.

When investing in any signage, try to analyze them with fresh eyes. Imagine entering your store as a new customer. Be honest with yourself about what’s clear and what may be perplexing. Establish a consistent brand and use it across your business, from outdoor signage to your website.

If you are unsure whether your signage is working for your business or not, contact Forerunner Signs & Graphics today!  We’ll make sure your branding is consistent and your customers feel welcome!

Michael Ryan