In retail business, it is said that one of the greatest sins one can commit is not using signage for their store, or not use it up to its potential. Signage is great because of several reasons: signs are basically the salespeople that you don’t have to pay at the end of the month, they improve the functionality of your store and they can attract new faces and increase the popularity of your personal brand. Therefore, here are 5 tips that will help you improve the signage in your store and advise you what to avoid.
#1. LESS IS MORE
If you think about nowadays’ fast-moving and rapidly-growing society, you will notice the preference for efficiency and on-point-ness. Only at a quick glance into the technological world, we have various examples of shortening: people prefer movies instead of books hate waiting in a queue, in traffic or because of a poor internet connection and even prefer the so-called vines (no more than 7 seconds) instead of full videos.
So, what makes you think a potential customer would read an entire paragraph? Keep your signs short, concise and witty and use them specifically according to your intention; no need to say `women should go in the following direction` when you can simply indicate a clothes section for women by `WOMEN` and an arrow. Other good examples could be `Breakfast, only 5$`, `50% discount on Fridays`, `All sizes available` and so on.
#2. BE CREATIVE
Be as creative as you want to with your signage, because not only is it one of the most entertaining parts in the job of a retailer, but it also proves extremely useful in attracting new clients and in making your store have a vibe of its own. People like to see signs with jokes, puns, wordplays and double entendres, as they can brighten up a tedious day and render potential shoppers more appreciative of your retail business.
Possibilities are endless, because the only restriction is the type of business you own. There is even an annual contest of Clever Signage Photos, where people submit entries from all over the world; instead of saying that their zoo is under surveillance, the managers chose `Hi there, you are on exhibit too!`. An optometrist in Sweden indicated his name with a font that gradually became smaller on every line (hence his field of work!). At the entry of a bar in London, you can read `We have beer as cold as your girlfriend’s heart` and, to top it all, an auto service in America claims that their `brake inspections make the TSA blush`.
#3. EMPATHY IS KEY
You may have already noticed that many of the aforementioned signs used pronouns such as `you`, `your`, and `we`. Customers appreciate empathy, because it makes them think that you, the retailer, a person that they do not know, are directly speaking to them or feeling what they feel and knowing what they need.
This bond is, after all, the way you can show your customers that you care about them and that your products are tailored according to their needs. Avail of these pronouns as much as possible, phrase signs in the form of direct questions and even dare to offer support or advice: even if your intention may not change a bad mood into a fantastic one all of a sudden, it can help a bit. Let`s see some examples; a liquor store on the 14th of February: `Valentine’s Day bla bla bla drink`; H&M: `Fashion never sleeps. Neither do we` or a restaurant: `When is the last time you really loved your lunch?`.
#4. KEEP IT EASY TO READ
It is pretty obvious that the whole point of signage working properly relies on people reading it, which is why you have to make sure that the witty, fantastic content you came up with last night while sipping on the third cup of coffee can be easily read by customers.
A small font or a very curly one can destroy a great idea; try to keep it simple and use colors that are contrasting (definitely not yellow letters on a white background or something like that). Also, don`t distance your signs too much, because it may happen that they go unnoticed – not everyone has a perfect eyesight and it would be a shame to waste a compelling idea because of such technical, silly reasons.
#5. DONT SPAM AND USE TARGET POINTS
Last but not least, don`t overuse signage. A store with more signs than products makes the eyesight tired and confused, thus the customers become angry and unsatisfied. Also, you should try to find the most important and most popular spots in your store, where most customers will pass through at some point, and put signs there – this is how they will be a key focus of everyone`s looks. Try to keep everything balanced and neatly organized – any potential customer will at least appreciate the effort you made.
Quick sum-up: signage is a wonderful technique which every retailer should use for their stores and brands. If you follow these simple rules and keep everything organized, balanced and creative, your signage will turn out to be a great asset. All in all, the idea behind signs is to make any casual browser enter a store and even buy something; signage makes customers feel invited and welcome and offers endless possibilities to use your imagination – but use it wisely!