For some businesses the question isn’t whether to have signage or not, it’s how best to use it. This is the case for retail stores. Retail signage is vital to offering customers the best, most streamlined experience. Effective retail signage serves customers by helping them navigate the store and providing useful information about products and promotions. In turn, these signs help store employees by lessening the need for them to assist customers. With clear, accurate signage, employees can spend less time helping customers find products, and more time selling and performing necessary tasks.
Arguably the most important part of signage design, especially retail signage, is how easy it is to understand. What makes a sign easy to understand can be broken down into two elements, appearance and accuracy. The visual appearance of text and graphics should contrast from the background color so they are easy to read from greater distances, especially in larger retail stores. In addition to a sign being easy to read, it must also make sense, underscoring the importance of accuracy. If a sign is meant to indicate a product’s location, the product should be in relatively close proximity to the sign. Confusing signs can hurt your business twice. First, when the customer is misled by poor signage while they are shopping and they potentially leave without the product they were ready to buy, and second, when the customer doesn’t come back to your store because of their first experience.
Where you put your signs can help determine how effective they will be. If you are hanging aisle hangers, it’s important that they are clearly visible. Highly visible signs that can be seen from far away help customers find products sooner, and eliminate frustration. Properly placed signs also tie into the earlier mentioned accuracy factor as well. Aisle hangers should be high enough above surrounding shelves that they can be viewed from other, adjacent aisles.
There is no right or wrong theme to a retail store. However, to highlight some of these tips, let’s take a look at some examples from a previous project we completed at the pet supply store, Especially for Pets. The signage designs used at Especially for Pets may not work for all retail locations, however the ideology behind their theme and design is useful for any retail location.
The retail signage used for Especially for Pets was all very easy to read. A simple sans serif font was used with contrasting colors. This simple, clean design makes it easier for customers to navigate the store and find the products they are looking for.
The hanging signage for the aisle that is pictured below is mounted to the top of the shelving unit. This is effective for a store of this size. Aisle signage hung from the ceiling may be overkill in this instance and look out of place for a store that is smaller in size. Conversely, this mounted style of aisle signage would be less effective in larger retail locations where ceiling danglers would be more appropriate. Making signage fit the settings of each specific location is key for effective retail signage.
The hanging signage that is mounted to the aisle shelving matches the signage that is hung from the wall. Retail signage with matching themes eliminates confusion and creates an understanding that all signage from the store will use that same color scheme. This is an effective strategy to influence customers to read specific signs and know exactly what to look for.
In the photo above, Especially for Pets displayed a sign meant to inform and assist customers in choosing their pet food. Because the signage has a distinct theme, this sign which may have been otherwise overlooked now looks familiar to customers and is more likely to be read. The increased visibility of this sign means that customers will be more informed while shopping and are more likely to stop to look at products than simply walking past them.
The above photo illustrates how similar all of the retail signage is to each other and how easy it is to find amongst all of the different products.
As was previously mentioned, keeping a consistent theme throughout retail signage makes customers more likely to recognize and view your sign. This can also be used to strengthen branding. Since customers are now familiar with the color scheme of the signage, they will notice the branded signs as well.
Regardless of the size of a store, retail signage improves the customer experience and allows employees to spend more time assisting customers with questions rather than helping them find products. Using the tips provided in this blog along with careful planning will result in helpful signage that can take your location to the next level. Contact one of our signage experts to learn more.