When it comes to signage, less is more. Simple and direct messages are more easily communicated to customers than ones that don't use proper strategies. Some retailers might be tempted by the idea that "bigger is better," but that's not always the case. With visual merchandising, it's important to focus on directness and simplicity.
Effective signage can contribute to your retail identity and create an appropriate atmosphere. The combination of these elements draws customers into the store, boosting sales and ultimately helping the bottom line. However, signage only gives these benefits if it's done correctly. Here are three clues that you retail signage is ineffective:
1. It takes more than five seconds to understand the signage
According to Shopify, effective signage only takes about five seconds to understand. Too many words, an abundance of information, extremely small print and confusing messages can all contribute to longer comprehension time. This is especially detrimental for informational signs that help direct a customer through the store.
In order to verify that your sign is effective, run a test on one of your employees who has not seen the sign yet. After five seconds, ask them what the main themes are. If they can't answer, consider taking away some information or setting up multiple signs to spread out the information Another method to decreasing the time it takes to understand the sign is to write in what Shopify called headline text. The titles of newspaper articles are catchy, to the point and draw the reader in for more. With this strategy in mind, you can create effective signage.
2. Your outdoor sign could work in front of any retail
When it comes to outdoor signs, you do not want to be generic. The sign should be original, speaking to who you are as a retailer. According to The Houston Chronicle, the outdoor sign should be able to create some anticipation in the customer about what waits for them inside. A clean, uncluttered sign, for example, will give customers the expectation of professionalism and success. A colorful, graphic chalkboard sign, on the other hand, will convey a fun personality that patrons won't be able to resist. Make sure your outdoor sign isn't just informational logistically; it needs to capture your audience's emotions, too.
3. The signs don't evoke action
Signs need to have a purpose, which means customers should look at it and know exactly what to do next. A sign outside a retail store tells patrons to walk inside; departmental signs directs customers around the store. A sign is just a waste of space if it doesn't encourage the audience to do something afterwards.
A great way to elicit action from customers is to create an emotional experience with the signs. For example, an effective flower shop sign might say "Show your mom how much you appreciate her with a bouquet of roses for $12!" Not only does the sign convey information about the product, but it gives customers the opportunity to play the role of a loving, compassionate child.
Review your signage and evaluate whether or not it's working to your retail store's advantage. If any of these red flags show up, rework your signage strategy to optimize sales.