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Retail signs - top five tips

POSTED: 27 September 2019

What is a good retail sign?

Retail signs have an important role to play. They attract attention and engage your customers. Executed in the right way and they can draw a customer through your store doors, walk them around your shop floor and lead them to make a purchase. But do you know how to achieve this? Do you know what makes a good sign?

Some of the greatest sins in retailing are not enough signage, a lack of personality conveyed on the signs, and displaying confusing messages to customers.

However, get your signage right and it can give you the competitive edge. Here are our five top tips to better retail signage.

Tip one – color

Have you ever noticed that Sale signs are usually red? Or that financial institutions often use blue?  This isn’t accidental.  We are visual beings, and color makes a difference to our perception. In this example, red grabs attention and makes us want to take action, blue brings feelings of trust and dependability.  It takes the average person just 90 seconds to make a judgement about an environment or store, and up to 90 percent of that assessment is based just on color.

Blue sign for a new product contrasts the the sign for pricing

Think about who you want to attract. Who is your target audience? What do they want from your store? What are you trying to convey to them?

Choose a couple of key colors to use within the store; the colors you use will speak volumes about the type of store you are. To make signs easier to read, use two contrasting colours for the font and the background. Ensure there is enough definition between the two colours so the text doesn’t get lost. Black on white or red on yellow are two examples that work well for easy reading.

Tip two – can it be seen?

Make sure every sign can be seen. If a sign is in a window can you see it properly on the other side? Are people driving by? Walking by? Make sure the people you need to see your sign will be able to see it, whatever their eye level or distance away will be.

Within the store think about any obstructions to your signs. Are they all visible? Is there any glare from overhead lights or the sun coming in at certain times of day?

Clear prices in the distance as well as just in front of the shopper

How many signs do you have around the shop floor? Too many and customers won’t be able to take in the message from any particular one. Too few and a shopper can feel confused about where to find the items they want.

This is where it is good practice to walk around your shop floor. View it as a customer, can you find what you need? Are the signs telling you what you need to know, when you need to know it? Try to be objective.

Tip three – can it be read?

Consider with each sign where a customer would be reading it from. Those signs meant to be read from a distance need to be of a size and use a font big enough to be able to be seen. As a general rule of thumb add an inch of height to your text for every 10 feet of viewing distance. So, if a customer will be looking at a sign from 40 feet away, the letters on the sign should be a minimum of four inches. 20 feet would be two inches. And so on.

We need to be able to read the signs in the distance

Consider who your target audience is. Older customers especially may find it hard to read smaller fonts. But no one wants to be struggling to read your signs. Use a font that is easy to read in both style and size. (And never use Comic Sans, period. No one in their right mind wants to see that).

Tip four – quality retail signs

How are you going to display your retail signs? Taking the time to select the right color, the right font and so on is important, but if you display these well thought out signs in hardware that is not up to the job then you have wasted your time. A store displaying broken and cracked signs conveys all the wrong messages.

Quality sign holder from Reflex

Ensure that your hardware for each sign is suitable for use. Signs on rail ends must be able to withstand knocks from shoppers as they reach for garments. Signs on top of rails and displays need to be able to move between rails easily and without breaking for when you want to alter the shop floor layout.

Broken signs portray a negative image for your store and cost you money to replace.  Quality signage is a must.

Tip five – visualize

We are visual creatures. Around 80 percent of what we take in through the senses is visual. Color provides the neurological stimulation that we crave.  Add to this our ever-dwindling attention spans, and you can understand that where signs are involved, less is more.

Make sure your signs are succinct and to the point; not too wordy and make it easy to scan read.  Highlighting key words in bold can help people to more quickly read your sign. And as we mentioned earlier, a contrast font and background colour makes your signs easier to read.

No confusion over who this product is intended for

Consider using images rather than text. The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is certainly true in this case. Images can add interest but also quickly and succinctly tell a customer where they need to be and what they are looking at. Images in fact can go further than this, perhaps suggesting to customers to put two different garments together that they may not have thought of themselves.

Again here, color is important. Research shows that a color image may hold the attention of a person for two seconds longer than the same image in black and white. When encouraging shoppers to make a purchase, every second really does count.

Key take away for retail signs

Test it out yourself. Walk in to your store as a customer. What do you see? What do you notice? Do the same thing in your competitors stores. What do you like or notice in their stores?

The colors, the fonts and the images you choose all portray a message. How you display the signs tells a customer about the quality of your merchandise and who you are as a store. Jumbled up signs, broken signage, inconsistent fonts and colors – all create an unappealing place to shop and customers are likely to leave confused and empty handed.

But get your signage right, consistency from one well placed sign to another will act as a hand holder, leading your customers through the store and to make a final purchase. Take the time to get your signs right and you’ll reap the rewards.

Need better sign holders?

The Reflex sign holder range is the world’s best-selling end-of-arm product. A durable sign holder, Reflex stretches to fit 98% of all arm ends – no other product on the market fits so many rail arms. The unique flexibility of Reflex prime means signs will merely flex when knocked by shoppers ensuring in-store graphics stay in place. Promotional graphics are also quick and easy to change by shop-floor staff.

And it isn’t just arm ends – clothes rails, prong arms, ticket holders, shelf edges, circular rails…Reflex will stretch to fit them all, and is also available with a number of attachments (face-outs, prong, disc and flexi strap) for added versatility.

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