The importance of good shop signage

Your shop is THE place where business happens. Where potential customers become paying customers. It is where profits are made, where dreams come true and goals are reached.

Opening a retail unit is tough in these current trading conditions; in fact, trading conditions are always tough, fluctuating with intensity as the economy rises and falls. Thus, you need to be working incredibly hard to maintain your position in the market.

You need to be maximising sales, pointing customers in the right direction and enticing them. There are many ways of doing this, some more successful than others but there is one area where many retail businesses are sadly wanting: good shop signage.

Colour Graphics know the difference that excellent shop signage can make within a business, having worked with hundreds of retail customers over the years. We have collected our thoughts, creating a list of our best hints and tips to create the best shop signage for your business…

#1 Shop signs are needed to instruct (sort of!)

You will have heard of ‘call to action’, the need to tell/encourage/cajole the consumer into make a decision. In some ways, shop signage is doing the same thing but in a subtler, but effective way.

Think for a moment about which products in your shop accompany or complement each other, Online retailers do it all the time; a customer adds something to a basket and then underneath they may have something such as ‘customers who looked at this, also looked at this’ etc.

Your shop signage is about doing a similar thing. It should entice and direct consumers, making it clear where things are and what they need to do, in some cases.

#2 Don’t ramble

Consider these two examples;

“Why not treat yourself to a cosy hot water bottle, with FREE cover?”

“Don’t get the chills this winter! Buy a lovely hot water bottle with a FREE cover and you can be toasty warm for ages. Buy two and you’ll get the third free as well”

The latter example may have more information but the afore mentioned one is far more succinct and to the point. If you can Tweet in 140 characters you can do clear, non-rambling signs too.

#3 Choose your fonts carefully

Fonts are a great thing, there are literally hundreds to choose from. Some look severe and business like, some appeal to children, others give an air of being soft and wafting… well, we could go on and on with the flowery descriptions.

Suffice to say, some fonts are easier to read than others. Choose wisely and make sure that the shapes of the words are clear and easy to decipher so that signs can be read quickly, in a glance.

#4 Some signs need to suggest a reason to buy

Not all signs are needed to do the same thing; ‘toilets this way’ is clearly informational, whilst ‘buy two, get two free’ is an instruction to a certain extent.

In some cases, you can use signs to suggest to customers why they need to buy a product.

“Make heads turn with [insert product]”, “Enjoy Christmas with [insert product]”, “Fight off winter chills with [insert product]”.

Get the drift? Shop signage can be a great way of suggesting to customers they really, really do need your product over and above anything else.

#5 Watch your language!

This is important because it can make a difference between capturing a sale or not. The customer needs to know that this sopping experience is all about them. And so, use the words ‘you’ and ‘yours’. Place the customer in the middle of the action.

Again, it is suited to some signage needs and not others but always try and bring the information to the consumer that makes them feel important.

#6 De-fluff

Still on language, many of us are used to seeing things abbreviated. Our lives run on succinct texts and tweets etc. So, before you press the ‘proof approved’ button, take a fresh look at what your sign is saying and how. Get rid of the fluff; be a little ruthless.

#7 Have fun!

Signs don’t have to be boring. You can be creative and have fun with signs. Clearly, you need to be confident not to cause offence or display a sign that in contravention of good taste but humour can go a long way…

In summary, signs are effective means by which you can communicate with your customer. They can become iconic and can make your business memorable too.

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